This week, a consignment of approximately 3,000 bull weanlings have been exported to Turkey. The boat set sail on Thursday (October 29) and consisted of continental bulls weighing 250-350kg. The contract is said to be filled by a Meath-based exporter.

According to Bord Bia, a total of 5,909 head of animals have been exported to Turkey so far this year. 

AgriLand understands there is talk of another shipment to Turkey aimed to set sail hopefully before Christmas. If this ends up being the case, it should certainly aid farmers’ confidence when it comes to selling their weanlings in the coming weeks – as the uncertainty of how a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is going to impact the market increases.

Dutch agriculture minister seeks ban on Irish calves

In other exporting news, Carola Schouten, the minister for agriculture in the Netherlands, has requested a ban on the import of Irish calves to the country. Schouten has insisted that this ban would make farming “more sustainable”. She has argued that long transport times and distance affect the welfare of calves and, therefore, should cease.

However, in order to implement this ban, she has noted that it will require the involvement of the EU.

If imposed this ban would have a major repercussion on the beef trade here in Ireland. A total of 48,740 cattle have been exported to the Netherlands this year so far, with calves being the primary age category of animals shipped.

In response to this, the Livestock Shareholders Association (LSA) has stated such a ban would “cause a detrimental knock-on effect to the already unstable industry here in Ireland”.

“With an ever-growing national dairy herd, we must have an outlet for these calves or there will be a complete collapse in the market. We are flagging this problem and we need immediate support from the government,” the association said.

Currently, EU restrictions say that the maximum travel time for calves from departure to resting place is 18 hours. The LSA is calling for a different status for Ireland, particularly with the Brexit withdrawal period set to come to an end on December 31.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has also voiced its opinion by stating it is “confident” that other EU member states would not be in agreement of the ban.

Des Morrison, the ICMSA’s Livestock Committee chairperson, has stated that the trade within the EU is “absolutely vital, as it operates to the highest standards and can not simply be banned on any unilateral basis or one person’s opinion”.

“As the Dutch minister acknowledges, any actions of this type can only be implemented at EU level and we’re confident that Ireland and others will not be in agreement,” Morrison said.