The seventh in a series of Irish live cattle shipments to Turkey left Irish shores late last week. The consignment, organised by Purcell Brothers, consisted of approximately 3,000 bulls.

The vessel, the Panama-registered Atlantic M, left Waterford Port on Friday and is expected to arrive in the Turkish port of Mersin on June 8.

Loading was overseen by Department of Agriculture vets and it is the second such shipment to be organised by the Waterford-based exporting company this year.

Back in late April, Purcell Brothers sent another shipment of 3,000 bulls to Turkey. It is understood that this consignment consisted of animals under 12 months of age weighing 220-330kg.

The Turkish market has grown in importance for Irish suckler farmers since the first boatload of Irish animals departed for the Middle Eastern market back in the autumn of 2016.

Last year, Meath-based livestock exporter Viastar shipped more than 19,000 cattle to Turkey. The four shipments included both finished and weanling bulls.

And, in a separate deal, earlier this year a consignment of 1,564 Irish heifers was sent to the country.

Along with exports to Turkey, a shipment of approximately 1,900 Irish bulls left Irish shores for Libya earlier this month.

The group of bulls, consisting of a range of breeds, had been gathered by Supreme Livestock for private Libyan buyers.

This was the first shipment of Irish cattle to head to Libya this year. In 2016, some 2,162 Irish cattle were shipped to Libya – an increase of 1,729 on the 433 exported during 2015.

It is predicted that an additional 100,000 extra finished cattle will come on stream in 2017. Increased exports this year are necessary to reduce the likelihood of a further increase in cattle supplies occurring in 2018.