‘Full steam ahead’ for calf exports, despite fears of disruption by Covid-19

It is full steam ahead for calf exports this week despite rumors circulating that calf exports could be disrupted due to Covid-19 (coronavirus).

It was reveled to AgriLand that boats are sailing as normal this week with a full load of trucks making the sailing to Cherbourg on Tuesday, March 17.

“The boats have to keep moving no matter what,” the source commented.

Last week – the week ending March 15 – some 10,352 head of beef and dairy-bred calves left Ireland destined for European destinations.

The week previous – the week ending March 8 – some 14,627 head of calves had been exported, according to Department of Agriculture figures.

Turning to the same period last year – during the week ending March 17, 2019 – a total of 10,639 head of calves had been exported, with the main destinations being: Belgium; France; Italy; the Netherlands; and Spain.

In total, 44,746 head of calves have been exported so far this year (up to and including March 15) and we can see that the destinations for calves this year include: Belgium; France; Italy; the Netherlands; Poland; and Spain.

However, over the past couple of weeks the stand out destinations have been Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain.

The top destination this year for calves is the Netherlands with 25,847 head of calves shipped to this country so far this year.

Country-by-country calf exports (up to and including week ending March 15, 2020):
  • Netherlands: 25,847 head;
  • Spain: 13,486 head;
  • France: 2,510 head;
  • Belgium: 1,967 head;
  • Italy: 643 head;
  • Poland: 293 head.

Following the Netherlands is Spain with 13,486 head of calves exported; then France with 2,510 head and Belgium with calf exports standing at 1,967 head to date.

Lastly, a small amount of beef and dairy-bred calves have been exported to Italy and Poland, reaching 643 head and 293 head respectively.