Video: Nearly 300 Holstein Friesian bull calves depart for Spain

A consignment of 277 Holstein Friesian bull calves left the Wicklow Cattle Company’s headquarters in Arklow, Co. Wicklow last Saturday morning.

The calves, which were purchased directly from dairy farmers, were shipped to Spain where they will enter the country’s veal production system.

The nearly 300-strong batch of Holstein Friesian bulls left the company’s premise at 12 noon and arrived in Spain on Monday.

A Department of Agriculture Veterinarian was present prior to and during the loading process to oversee the entire operation.

The Department representative also carried out a detailed check of the triple decker lorry and the calves prior to giving the all clear for export.

The Department vet completing his checks
The Department vet completing his checks

All of the 277 calves were fed prior to loading and had access to fresh water during the voyage to France, where the lorry was unloaded and the calves were fed once more and rested overnight.

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Saturday’s consignment was the second batch of spring calves to be shipped to Spain by the Wicklow Cattle Company.

A third shipment of about 300 animals left the company’s premises on Wednesday morning bringing the total number of Holstein Friesian bull calves shipped to approximately 900 head.

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Spain – an important market for Irish calves

The Spanish market has grown to be an important market for Irish calves and figures from Bord Bia show that some 36,700 head of cattle – the majority of which were calves – were exported to Spain in 2016.

This was an increase of 26% on the corresponding period in 2015 and came about as Spanish buyers sought Irish calves to increase the countries beef production.

Already this year, official figures show, exports to Spain are running ahead of 2016 levels with some 1,676 Irish cattle having being shipped from Irish shores to the Mediterranean nation (WE February 11).

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About the Wicklow Cattle Company

The Wicklow Calf Company has grown to be one of the largest calf farms in Ireland and the family run business has been in operation for over 45 years.

Seamus Scallan and his wife Joyce currently run the business alongside their daughter Elizabeth and sons David and James in Mooreshill, Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

During peak times of the year, the farm can house in the region of 1,500-1,600 calves each week.

These calves are compromised of Holstein Friesians, the best of which are sold on the home market, and coloured calves such as Herefords, Angus and Belgian Blues. Behind the scenes at the Wicklow Cattle Company