A consignment of Irish bulls which were loaded on a vessel at a port in Ireland before Christmas have arrived and been unloaded at Bandirma Port in Turkey.

On board the vessel were just over 3,340 weanling bulls, the majority of which were continental breeds. Agriland understands that between 10-20% of the bulls were Angus and Hereford bulls.

The consignment of cattle was assembled by the Irish midlands-based livestock-exporting firm Viastar.

A spokesperson from the company told Agriland : “Viastar will be commencing the purchase of approximately 3,500 suitable cattle in the coming month for another consignment to Turkey.”

The bulls suitable for this consignment will be continental-bred bulls as well as Angus and Hereford bulls weighing between 250-450kg.

The spokesperson added: “Viastar is confident of further consignments of Irish cattle going to Turkey in 2023 and there appears to be signs of good demand from other countries too.”

The vessel bringing the Irish cattle on the voyage to Turkey was the state-of-the-art purpose-built Ganado Express.

Built in 2013, the ship is widely recognised as one of the finest livestock-transport ships in the world. It currently sails under the Singapore flag.

The Viastar consignment was the second shipment of cattle to travel to Turkey in December 2022.

Earlier in the month, a southern-based cattle exporting firm sent approximately 2,200 Irish weanling bulls to Turkey.

The two consignments sent to Turkey in December brought 2022, which was a positive year for cattle export numbers, to a close.

While the final cattle export numbers for 2022 are not yet available, according to Bord Bia, just over 271,800 cattle had been exported from the Republic of Ireland as of December 3, 2022.

This marks an increase of 12.3% or just over 29,850 cattle exported when compared to figures from the same time period of 2021.

The largest increases were seen in the calf and weanling categories with the number of calves exported as of December 3, having increased by just over 29,900 head and the number of weanlings exported was up by just over 10,500 head as of December 3, according to Bord Bia.