Live cattle exports continue to fall – Bord Bia

Live cattle exports from the Republic of Ireland are continuing their recent downward trend, according to the latest figures published by Bord Bia.

This year has seen a 26.6% reduction in overall live exports for the week ending October 15, a drop of 41,089 head of cattle on the same period in 2015.

The main driver of this fall has been the drop in exports to Northern Ireland where trade has reduced by over half (54.1%) when compared with 2015.

In an overall context this drop of 22,933 head of cattle to the North accounts for 55.8% of the total reduction.

The drop can be attributed to the recent volatility of the British pound, which currently stands at 89p to the euro.

Along with the drop in Sterling, Bord Bia has previously noted that UK beef production is increasing this year while the UK consumer preference for other sources of protein is becoming more pronounced.

All of these contributing factors lead towards a reduced demand for Irish cattle in the UK.

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According to Bord Bia, another major factor in reducing live exports from Ireland is the drop in trade to the Netherlands which has seen a reduction of 16,752 head of cattle on the same period last year.

This drop in trade is accounted for mainly by the slump in live calf exports which have taken a 15.5% hit on 2015 figures, Bord Bia figures show. Many of these calves are sold into the veal markets of either the Netherlands or Spain.

As regards to the types of cattle affected it can be seen that the numbers of finished cattle leaving Ireland for slaughter have more than halved since this time last year, with only 18,285 head of cattle having left so far, down 20,169.

Looking at exports outside of the European Union the official figures show a fall of 44.5% compared to the same period last year.

The complete drying up of trade to Tunisia, can be partly attributed to this drop in exports. However, this was cushioned by the recent opening of the Turkish market which has taken over 4,000 head of cattle to date.

This number is set to rise over the next couple of months with further shipments to Turkey in the pipeline.