The Atlantic M – a Panama-registered livestock carrier – is en route to Co. Waterford to load a consignment of 3,000 Irish bulls for Turkey.

The vessel is expected to dock on Tuesday and loading will get underway in the following days. This will be the eighth ship to carry Irish cattle to Turkey since the market reopened in 2016.

The latest consignment is being organised by Waterford-based exporting company Purcell Brothers and it is understood to involve 3,000 yearling bulls; these bulls will be shipped for further feeding and finishing in Turkey.

The cattle will be loaded under the supervision of Department of Agriculture vets, after meeting their quarantine-stay requirements.

Earlier this year, the company secured a contract to export nearly 20,000 cattle to the country. And, already in 2017, it has organised two shipments – totalling 6,000 bulls – for Turkish cattle buyers.

Last year, Viastar shipped more than 19,000 cattle to Turkey. The four shipments included both finished and weanling bulls. In a separate deal earlier this year, another Irish exporter also sent a consignment of 1,564 Irish heifers to Turkey.

The latest consignment could bring the total number of Irish cattle shipped to Turkey to just over 29,500 head.

Exports remain in a positive position

The number of cattle shipped from Ireland by live export continues to be positive, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

In total, some 131,854 cattle have been exported from Ireland this year – an increase of 41,212 head or 45.5% on the corresponding period in 2016.

Finished cattle exports account for approximately 11% of all of the cattle shipped from Ireland this year. And exports of these animals are necessary to provide much-needed competition on the beef market.

Official figures show that approximately 14,200 finished cattle have left Irish shores this year – a jump of 1,982 head or 16.2% on the number exported in 2016.

In addition, increases have also been witnessed in the numbers of weanlings, stores and calves shipped from Irish shores.

Year-on-year export changes (week ending June 17):
  • Weanlings: 12,197 head (+6,343 head or +108.4%);
  • Stores: 9,295 head (+3,787 head +68.8%);
  • Calves: 96,163 head (+29,100 head or +43.4%);
  • Finished: 14,199 head (+1,982 head +16.2%);
  • Total: 131,854 head (+41,212 head or +45.5%).