Calf exports edge towards the 60,000 head mark
Calf exports continue to remain in a positive position as nearly 60,000 calves have been shipped from Ireland this year.
Figures from Bord Bia show that some 56,623 calves have been exported – up considerably on the corresponding periods in 2016 and 2015.
The majority of these calves have been Holstein Friesian bulls destined for finishing under veal production systems in countries such as the Netherlands and Spain.
In total, these two markets have imported 50,600 calves from Ireland, while a considerable number of calves have also been exported to Belgium.
Approximately 3,300 calves have been exported to this market already this year.
The jump in calf exports has contributed to the increase seen in the total number of cattle exported from Ireland this year.
Official figures show that some 72,350 cattle have been shipped from Ireland – an increase of 21,535 head or 42.4% on last year’s levels.
Along with a jump in calf exports, there have also been increases in the numbers of weanlings and stores shipped from Ireland in 2017.
An additional 1,122 weanlings (+35.3%) were shipped between January and April 1, while store cattle shipments are up by 523 head (+20.3%) on 2016 levels.
These increases have been driven by the Italian and Turkish markets. Buyers for both destinations have been active around sales rings in recent weeks – securing stock.
However, the number of finished cattle exported from Ireland continues to fall and just 8,326 animals have been exported this year.
The main reason for the fall in finished cattle exports is the introduction of Red Tractor labelling in the UK, which has limited the demand for Irish-sourced cattle in Northern Ireland.