ICSA President Patrick Kent has told Agriland that live cattle exports will help drive up Irish cattle prices.

“There are excellent opportunities to put live exports from Ireland out to North Africa plus a number of EU markets, including the UK. It’s a very simple equation: the more cattle that leave the country live, the greater the pressure on the Irish meat plants to pay better prices.”

Patrick Kent said he is also deeply concerned about the continuing pressure on Irish livestock farmers to produce more traditional beef breed types with lower carcass weights. “ICSA is very concerned about pressure on farmers to produce more traditional breeds with lower carcass weight. Such breeds may be suitable for the UK meat export market, but not for the live trade.

“Ireland’s long-term future lies in the production of high quality beef cattle. It would also be a grave mistake to put all our eggs in the basket of the UK market. The future is mainland Europe and our processers must take full recognition of this fact.”

Turning to the issue of exporting live cattle to Northern Ireland, Patrick Kent expressed the view that this matter could be resolved in the near future.

“The North’s Farm Minister Michelle O’Neill is very keen to have this issue addressed. I am aware that she is coming South to discuss the matter in the very near future. We would welcome the opportunity of meeting her at that time,” he commented. “I stressed once more to the Minister the importance of appointing a beef regulator.”