‘Merit’ in live exporters having unified representation – Creed

There is “merit” in live exporters working together to provide a unified voice for themselves when dealing with authorities, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

In a statement to AgriLand, the minister explained: “I see merit in live exporters working together with a collective voice for what is a critical part of our livestock sector.

Coherent unified representation for exporters could act as a useful interface for dealing with state authorities as well as acting as an advocate for the highest welfare standards and best practice in the industry.

Live exporters will have a tougher time of it in the early months of this year, with Turkey suspending live imports into its market.

Confirming the news, Bord Bia’s sector manager for beef and livestock Joe Burke explained that the ban is due to a strong supply of cattle currently in Turkey.

He added that the situation will “probably” continue for the first couple of months of the year.

Dairy calf disruption

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has cautioned that some disruption is expected to hit the live export of calves from the Irish dairy herd early this season.

However, the department is confident that any delays will ease nearing the end of March as new cruise ferry, the W.B. Yeats, will set sail to the continent.

In line with the expansion of the dairy sector, last year, more than 900,000 dairy calf births were recorded by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) during the first three months of 2018.

Of these, almost 67,000 dairy calves were exported out of the country – chiefly to veal markets in Spain and the Netherlands.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said: “DAFM anticipates some ferry capacity constraints that will require management by exporters, early in the season.

“This, however, should be alleviated when the W.B. Yeats comes into service.”

It is anticipated that the combined W.B. Yeats and Stena Line sailings – which will occur on alternating days – could potentially allow 80,000 calves to be exported per month.