Live exports of cattle have increased for the year to date, and are currently standing at 216,050 head according to Eoin Kelly, Business Analyst with Bord Bia.

He says this highlights an increase of 14% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Latest figures show cattle exports of 4,575 head were recorded for the week ending November 1, according to the Department of Agriculture’s AIM system.

Kelly says year to date figures show a decline in the live export of weanlings by around 2,000 head. However, he says this has been offset by a 15% and 28% rise in stores and finished cattle respectively.

Live exports of calves are up 13% so far this year, and make up 47% of total live exports. According to Kelly, the principal destination for the live cattle trade continues to be the UK, followed by continental markets such as Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, and international markets such as North Africa.

He says the number of cattle moved to the UK so far this year increased by 10% on last year’s results to almost 59,000 head. This is driven by an 11% rise in finished cattle exports and significant increases in exports of calves and stores.

Kelly also outlines that the number of animals exported to Italy has increased by 21%, to reach over 28,000 head, with stores and weanlings driving the trade there.

Similarly, he says Spain has seen a strong increase in numbers, with a 23% rise in live cattle exports to date this year. This has been driven by increases across all categories, but particularly for weanlings and calves.

Focusing on international markets, Kelly says over 18,000 head of cattle have been exported to date this year, an 11% increase on last year. North Africa is the main destination internationally, he says, with Libya continuing to drive trade, with numbers up 22% compared to the previous year’s levels.