Weanling exports fall 33% and it looks set to be a difficult year – Bord Bia

The number of weanlings exported from Ireland by live-export means fell by 33% during the first three months of the year, recent figures from Bord Bia show.

To the week ending March 26, just over 2,800 weanlings were exported from Ireland, back by 1,363 head on the same time in 2015.

Speaking at a recent livestock seminar, Bord Bia’s Joe Burke said that weanling exports from Ireland have dropped this year, as the Irish and European beef price is quite close.

Burke said that Italy is the main destination for Irish weanlings, but due to the close beef price and grass buyer demand, Italian cattle imports are likely to decrease this year.

During the week ending April 2, Irish R3 young bulls made 369c/kg, while Italian young bulls sold for 405c/kg. This is a price difference of 36c/kg, figures from Bord Bia show.

The Beef and Livestock Sector Manager said that exporters are finding it difficult to compete with Irish store buyers in marts across the country.

He said that store buyers are out competing export buyers, as many Irish beef farmers are optimistic about beef price this year and are buying cattle for grass.

Source: Bord Bia
Source: Bord Bia

2016 looks set to be difficult for weanling exports

Burke also spoke about Irish cattle exports to Italy and how a difficult Italian market combined with the additional French cattle could impact on Ireland.

The Italian market has remained difficult this year, he said, as the average EU beef price is similar to the Irish beef price.

And, as a result of a bluetongue in France, the Bord Bia market analyst expects an additional 100,000 cattle from France to be redistributed across Europe.

Because France has been restricted from being able to export to Turkey, it looks likely that those animals will be diverted to other markets like Italy.

“It is going to leave the Italian market well supplied, if not saturated with cattle.

“And, this is going to have a negative impact on the market for Irish cattle in Italy later this year,” he said.