Irish live beef and store cattle exports have fallen 25.4% in 2015, and total exports to September 5 are down 47,887 head on the same period in 2014.
According to the latest Department of Agriculture’s figures, exports to mainland Europe have been hardest hit which has had a major impact on both weaning and store cattle exports.
The greatest falls have occurred in Italy where exports dropped by 43.3% (10,254), Belgium 97.9% (20,520) and Spain 34.5% (14,788), while exports to our closest market destination Britain fell by 38.4% (4,008).
However, despite this fall, exports to Northern Ireland have increased by 16.6% or 5,124 head with many industry sources highlighting the strong Sterling as the main reason for this increased live exports.
The Department’s figures also show that Irish exports to the Netherlands and France have also increased by 14.8% (5,638) and 61.3% (3,211) respectively.
Total Non-EU live exports
Exports to non-European countries have fallen by a staggering 77% which equates to a drop of almost 12,000 head of cattle.
The cessation of Irish exports to Libya as a result of political turmoil is for the most part to blame for this fall in exports.
According to the Department, 433 Irish cattle made it to the Middle Eastern state in 2015, this fell from 12,908 in 2014.
Exports to the Lebanon have fallen by 68 head, while exports to Tunisia have increased by almost 700 to reach 2,789 head.
Irish live cattle exports
Both store and weanling cattle are hardest hit by this 25% reduction in live cattle exports, approximately 60% (17,764) less Irish store cattle have been exported in 2015, while weanling numbers are also down by 46.4% (9,326).
Calf exports have also dropped by approximately 16,000 head, this appears to be as a result of reduced exports to Belgium and Spain.
Finished cattle exports from Ireland have also fallen by approximately 4,700 head or 12.3%, the Department of Agriculture’s figures show.
EU beef imports up 3%, exports down 1% in first half of 2015
In the first half of the year, EU beef and veal imports were up 3% on the same period last year at 101,000t, AHDB the organisation for the English beef and sheep industry has said.
It attributes this growth to increased volumes of chilled products, accounting for almost two-thirds of trade and consisting almost entirely of premium cuts.
The import price was up by as much as 16% it said, contributing to the only small volume increase, given the firm global market for beef and the weakness of the euro.
In US Dollar terms, the import price was actually down 6% year-on-year, it said, while Brazil remained the largest supplier by some margin, accounting for a third of all imports – shipments were up 2%.