Cattle exporters’ association ‘needed for joined-up thinking’

It has been said that a cattle exporters’ association needs to be put in place, particularly for those involved in the beef-calf trade.

Speaking in the Oireachtas on Tuesday, March 12, Fine Gael senator for the Agricultural Panel, Tim Lombard, highlighted that this would “enable exporters to work together with the ferry companies and with one another”.

Senator Lombard added: “This would ensure we can get the product to the marketplace in France where there is a significant demand for veal and calves. There is a need for some joined-up thinking on the matter.”

Continuing, the Co. Cork senator said: “We are in a crisis and there are serious issues with cattle being killed and deflated prices which have knock-on effects, particularly in marts.”

He noted that there is a particular issue with Friesian bull calves.

There are 14 or 15 independent exporters; we need to ensure they will work together as one unit.

“There is no exporter not making money. The only person being squeezed in this scenario is the dairy or beef farmer.”

The Fine Gael senator claimed: “Last year dairy calves were costing anything between €60 and €110. Yesterday, 380 dairy bull calves were sold for less than €0.50. This is the stuff of 1960.

“It is bizarre that we have such an issue nowadays. We need the exporters to work together. It suits them [exporters] to have a state of flux in the industry because the more chaos there is in it, the more money they can make.

We need the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to engage and ensure an exporters’ association will be put in place.

Concluding, senator Lombard added: “If that was to happen, we could ensure we would move forward in the live trade and get the vast numbers of Friesian bull calves off the island.”