Figures from Bord Bia show that live exports of cattle from Ireland are up some 17% since the start of the year when compared to 2013.

In total 127,094 head of cattle were exported over the first five months of the year up just under 20 thousand. The Netherlands and Spain have been the main contributors to the rise with over 14 thousand extra cattle exported to these countries compared to 2013.

Live exports to the UK is also up a significant 21% representing over 3,000 extra head of cattle exported since January. Exports to Italy and Libya were also up significantly by 35% and 57% respectively.

Bord Bia’s figures also show a rise in the number of calves exported with numbers up some 9,000 head since the start of the year compared to 2013. Store and finished cattle exports are also up 30% and 61% respectively.

Live trade of cattle to the UK is open for business, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, and are up 25% on last year.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney responding to parliamentary question tabled by former Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesman Denis Naughten on steps he is taking to open up the live export cattle trade to the UK stressed that it was open for business.

He said: “The reality is that the live trade to the UK is open for business as shown by the data generated by my Department’s AIM database. In fact, total live exports to the UK for the year to date have reached 19,000 head, an increase of some 3,800 head or 25% up on the comparable period in 2013. Live exports to Northern Ireland, which account for the vast majority of the UK live trade, amounted to over 14,000 head up to week 17 (w/c 27 April), which represents an increase of 1,700 head or 14% on the 2013 figure. Most of the Northern trade consists of stores and finished cattle.”

However, the Minister did concede that the potential to grow the live trade to the UK is constrained by the buying specifications operated by the British retail chains in relation to cattle born in this country and exported live for finishing and processing in that market.