Cork Marts has decided to cease exporting calves following a meeting of its board last week, the co-op’s CEO Sean O’Sullivan confirmed to Agriland.

O’Sullivan said that the co-op has been directly involved in the live export trade of calves since 2009 and has exported in the region of 15,000-20,000 head of calves each year in the intervening period.

The co-op, which has a number of mart venues dotted around the Munster region, exported mainly Holstein Friesian calves to the Dutch and Spanish markets, while Angus calves were also shipped to Spain.

Downward pressure on margins and increasing operating costs were cited as the main reasons for the ceasing of this enterprise.

“It has always been a very tight margin business and we have always struggled to make it profitable while also supporting our calf sellers,” O’Sullivan said.

The CEO of Cork Marts said the decision was reached at a board meeting last week after a review of the enterprises performance.

We have gone through this process for the past few months and regrettably, we have decided to cease our direct involvement in live calf exports.

“This decision was a difficult one but was made in the best long-term interests if the mart society and shareholders,” he said.

O’Sullivan also said that Cork Marts will continue to actively promote its calf sales and will revise its commission structure to both buyers and sellers to do business at its sales.

“We have always had active sales rings with other export and domestic buyers and we will do everything possible to ensure that this continues.

“Our objective remains to provide a secure and strong market outlet for our farmers to sell their livestock and we will continue to do that even if we are not exporting calves ourselves,” he said.