‘Live exports are the key to maintaining Irish cattle prices’

IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Angus Woods has welcomed the re-opening of the Egyptian market to Irish beef exports.

But it’s important that provision for live cattle is also included in the criteria agreed for this and subsequent export contracts, he said.

“This must be specified in ways that make commercial sense for both primary producers and the cattle shipping companies.

“For example, quarantine periods must not be excessive. The criteria established for the current live trade with Turkey require a 21-day quarantine period that only kicks in after the last animal in the consignment has been acquired and that’s long enough.”

Woods said that Irish cattle prices would only be maintained on the back of a live export drive which would see between 300,000 and 400,000 animals leaving Ireland this year.

“This includes calves, weanlings, stores and beef on the hoof.”

Meanwhile, ICSA Beef Chairman Edmond Phelan has also welcomed the reopening of the Egyptian market

“We need all the markets we can get to facilitate increasing cattle numbers. However, farmers will be keen to see if this move will strengthen beef prices. That will be the real test,” he said

Phelan commended Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed on his efforts to open live trade with Algeria.

“With extra cattle supplies, these on-going efforts to secure new markets are vital. We would also like to see the same efforts put into the potentially lucrative Iran market.

“ICSA has been lobbying for the reopening of the Irish Embassy in Tehran and has had talks with the Iranian Embassy on this issue.

“ICSA is also in discussion with the Central Bank on facilitating financial transactions between Ireland and Iran which currently do not exist.”

Phelan said ICSA will continue to push for new markets for both beef and the live trade of cattle.

“Huge opportunities exist for these exports. The increased production we are currently witnessing will not be viable if we do not capitalise on these opportunities.

“We also need to see a sensible approach from the Irish processors exporting to Egypt. Any advantages to this market opening will be lost if we see factories undercutting each other on price for these contracts.”