Irish beef exports to the US total 700t in first Quarter

Indications for exports of Irish beef to the US in Quarter 1 are that just under 700t with a value of €6m was exported, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Department has said that this is a strong start to the year continuing the positive trends from last year.

It says the Department remains engaged with the US authorities to allow the for the extension of exports to include manufacturing beef.

It is now over 12 months since the much-heralded opening of the US market to Irish beef however, access to the large manufacturing beef market has remained elusive to Irish processors.

Irish beef exports to the US last year were worth approximately €11m, according to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

This is significantly short of the €50-100m value the Minister for Agriculture had predicted was possible in the first year, when he launched Irish beef on the US market.

Much of the blame for the poor performance of the market for Irish beef has been put on the fact that Irish beef as yet does not have access to the manufacturing beef market seen by many as the ‘big prize’.

Currently, a technical file submitted by Ireland in relation to access for manufacturing beef is at present being assessed by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.

Meanwhile, the USDA has also forecast that the value beef imports into the US will be $2.2 billion lower to $5.0 billion.

It says the strong pace of imports in 2015 resulted in record-high cold storage stocks, while a recovery in U.S. beef production will further dampen demand for imported beef, resulting in reduced volumes and average unit values in 2016.

IFA Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said it’s over a year since Ireland got access to the US market, but we are still waiting on clearance for access for manufacturing beef. This is the reasons why volumes are so low. Access for manufacturing beef is essential if we are to increase both volumes and value.