Turkey puts the brakes on the importation of live cattle

Officials in Turkey have stopped issuing new licences for the importation of live cattle into the country, a number of Irish exporters have confirmed to AgriLand.

It is understood – for the time being – that no new licences will be granted in Turkey for live cattle imports. However, existing licences can be filled, although Irish contracts are believed to be few and far between at this stage.

While it is not known how long this situation will be maintained, the issue could drag on for several months.

The main reason for this is the Turkish beef price and the number of cattle in the Turkish system; officials will often suspend live cattle imports to stabilise beef prices and to prevent an oversupply in the market.

The Turkish market can be very unpredictable and this is not the first time, and it probably won’t be the last time, that this situation arises. While the time-frame is unknown, it could be the new year before the situation is re-addressed.

This is unwelcome news for Irish beef farmers, as live exports provide some much needed competition at the ringside. The Turkish market provided an outlet for weanling bulls this autumn, with a number of shipments completed in recent weeks.

According to Bord Bia figures, the total number of cattle exported live to Turkey stands at 5,176 head so far this year; this is well behind the 12,870 head that were shipped in 2018.