Live sheep exports have slumped by over 72% in July, due to the absence of Libya from the live Irish sheep export market.

Declan Fennell of Bord Bia said this is largely down to the absence of live exports to Libya due to political instability in the market. “In July 2014, live exports are back by 27,164 head, equivalent to 72% drop when compared to the same period in the previous year.” In 2013 some 57% of the sheep shipped live farm Ireland went to Libya.

“From the outset of the year, live exporters would have been well aware of the volatility in the market, so it hasn’t come as a major surprise.”

However, he also highlighted when the figures are compared to 2012, live exports for this year have doubled. In July this year, over 4,000 sheep were shipped live from Ireland. Italy was the largest importer of live Irish sheep with over 1,800 going there. Germany and France were the next largest importers at over 800 head. Last month the UK imported just over 500 head of live sheep.

To put some context around the live trade for the last three years (Jan – Jul) .

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In terms of an outlook for live sheep exports, Fennell stated that: “It’s expected live trade will pick up in the lead up to Eid the important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide which will take place on the 5th October, with Germany being an important market destination.”