Exporter sees 20% increase in the number of dairy cattle going to the UK

David Clarke, a livestock supplier and exporter, has seen a 20% increase in the export of freshly calved or in-calf dairy cattle to the UK this year.

“We are definitely selling more in the UK this year, with numbers up by about 20% compared to last year,” he said.

Dairy cattle going for export are travelling to the main UK dairy regions, such as Devon, Cheshire and Cornwall, Clarke from Cows.ie said.

The recent increase in milk prices is seeing a return in confidence to the market and more cattle are becoming available, he said.

Confidence would be up as milk prices are slowly edging upwards. There is definitely more cattle coming on the market.

“At the moment there will be more spring-calving heifers in the country than the market can take and these will end up going for export,” he said.

However, Clarke said the exchange rate between the euro and Sterling is making trade between Ireland and the UK more difficult.

With the exchange rate rising to its current level, Irish spring-calving heifers are becoming more expensive than their counterparts in the UK, he also said.

The pound is killing the job. Pre-Brexit, 76p was buying one euro and now you are talking close to 90p, that is a savage difference.

“At the moment spring-calving heifers in the UK are making between £750-900 (€840-€1010), while in Ireland prices are ranging from €950-1200.

“Irish dairy cattle are attractive export options due to the country’s disease free status and good reputation, which is building all the time.”

Meanwhile, the UK market remains the key market for any Irish dairy cattle going for export, despite a recent push to open additional markets, according to Clarke.

Clarke, who is based in Co. Westmeath, has been sourcing and transporting dairy cows for 30 years and sources all his cattle direct from farmers.