A livestock trading business based in Co. Westmeath has dispatched what is understood to be the first-ever complete walk-on, walk-off shipment of in-calf dairy heifers from Ireland.

Speaking to Agriland today, Wednesday, January 24, owner of the company who arranged the export consignment of pedigree dairy heifers, David Clarke from Cows.ie, said the customers in Algeria were “very happy” with the heifers they received and added that the heifers “travelled well”.

He explained that a total of 1,021 in-calf dairy heifers departed from Waterford Port on Thursday, January 4, on-board the Finola M and arrived seven days later on Thursday, January 11, in their destination country, Algeria. 821 heifers were unloaded at Oran Port and the remaining 200 heifers were unloaded at the port of Algiers.

The video below from Cows.ie shows the journey of the heifers from Ireland to their new home in Algeria:

He said this shipment “was the first-ever complete boat load,” of in-calf dairy heifers to be exported from Ireland.

“There were a few in-calf dairy heifers that went over last year during the summer on trucks but that’s the first time there was ever a complete load of dairy heifers.”

Clarke is confident of further shipments of in-calf dairy heifers in the near future and said: “There seems to be a market there going forward. It’s a new market.”

Strong start to cattle exports

The new year has gotten off to a strong start for Irish cattle export numbers with three significant consignments of Irish cattle exported in the first 14 days of the year.

Agriland understands there were approximately 5,700 cattle in total on these three separate consignments alone. These included primarily bulls and in-calf dairy heifers.

The Ganado Express set sail from a port in the east of the country on Thursday, January 11, with a consignment of approximately 3,300 bulls on behalf of Irish livestock exporting company Viastar.

A spokesperson for Viastar told Agriland: “These bulls were primarily Friesian and continental-bred bulls and range in weights from 250-450kg.”

The head herdsman on the Ganado Express for the duration of the journey to the Middle East was Co. Monaghan man Paul Duffy. He is no stranger to the job and has over 20 years’ experience in the role.

The Viastar statement outlined that the company is still sourcing a range of cattle for further export consignments.

On Friday, January 5, the livestock carrier Sarah M departed from a port in the west of the country with a consignment of 1,200 heavy bulls on behalf of Curzon Livestock.

These bulls also went to Algeria and a spokesperson for Curzon Livestock said the company is also sourcing cattle for another consignment for export.