Official figures from the Central Statistics Office show that Ireland has exported 102t of beef to the US since March.

Beef exports in March came in at 3t, 22t in April, while 3t was exported in both May and June and 71t in July, the figures show.

Earlier in September, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said that feedback from exporters eligible to export beef to the US indicated that exports to date had reached approximately 330t by early September.

While there were only two meat processors exporting up until June, now there are six plants exporting Irish beef to US markets.

However, the figures show that Ireland exported 102t of Irish beef to the US in the four-month period suggesting that in the month of August and into early Septemeber Ireland exported a further 228t, according to the Minister’s feedback.

Minister Coveney has said that the 330t of exported meat would have an approximate value of €2.1m.

The Minister also said that this is a very encouraging start to the trade particularly given that the trade to date is confined to the market for intact cuts as we currently await approval to export beef intended for grinding.

“As with any new market it takes time to build a reputational brand and a customer base and the real time to assess its value is when these are bedded down.

“More importantly the relatively high prices available for beef in Europe this year means that US buyers are priced out of the market and Irish exporters are choosing to send product to more valuable markets in the UK and on the continent,” he said.

Beef imports to fall

Latest forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that US beef and veal imports look set to fall by 200,000t next year.

It says smaller volumes of imported beef, pork, cattle, and swine, plus lower pork and swine unit values, in fiscal 2016 from 2015 lead to a $1 billion, or 6%, decline in the total import value of livestock products.

Looking at beef in particular, the USDA forecasts that in terms of value, imports will fall by $800m next year.