British buyers snap up Irish dairy heifers

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Latest figures in Britain indicate that farmers in the UK have been quite active in purchasing Irish-bred dairy heifers so far this year.

According to DairyCo, UK dairy cattle imports in total over the first half of 2014 were up by 23% compared to the same six months in 2013. Figures for the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) shows that, in total, Britain has imported in the region of 19,000 female dairy cattle in the first six months of the year. Of this 19,000, in the region of 70% of the import stock comes from either Ireland or the Netherlands.

The BCMS figures show that the 6,500 dairy female stock were imported into Britain from Ireland since January. This figure is up 44% on the same period in 2013.

DairyCo says a big contributor to this was a sharp increase in the number of Irish heifers imported in April, when around 800 more heifers arrived from Ireland when compared to April 2013.

Imports from the Netherlands also added significantly to this year-on-year growth, but were less seasonal than those from Ireland.

DairyCo says the increase indicates that a number of UK farmers, particularly those on a spring-block system, may be importing replacements rather than breeding their own.