How many cattle have been exported this year?

Live cattle exports are vital for both the Irish beef and dairy industries.

However, exports – up until July 20 this year – are running approximately 41,000 head or 18% lower than in the corresponding period in 2019, data from Bord Bia indicates.

As we know, Irish dairy calves account for the largest segment of all cattle exports from Ireland. But, this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for Irish calves has been impacted considerably.

These exports have been particularly impacted due to the lower demand for veal across our European markets – in particular the Netherlands; calf exports to this country are still running at 35,000 head or 42% behind last year’s levels.

Saying that, some 48,500 calves have been exported to the Netherlands – representing a slight recovery.

On a more positive note, exports to Spain have recovered well and now lie within 13% of 2019 levels. This market has been boosted by a strong demand for weanlings and stronger animals which will require further feeding.

Continuing on a positive note, finished cattle exports have also witnessed a welcomed increase, with a jump of 60% recorded for the year-to-date.

In fact, live exports to Northern Ireland are up 71.5% on 2019 levels – consisting both of finished animals for slaughter and those that require further feeding.

Moving further afield, exports to Libya stood at 7,500 head. However, a consignment of bulls – bound for Libyan shores – was loaded on Wednesday last, July 29, bringing the total number to approximately 9,400 head for the year-to-date.

Data source: Bord Bia

Additionally, there is some optimism surrounding the Turkish market, with new licences expected to be issued in the coming weeks for the importation of cattle.