Finding home for thousands of Irish dairy bull calves
With the calving season soon approaching, the export trade is focusing keenly on markets for Irish calves, according to Joe Burke of Bord Bia.
The situation in relation to the export of dairy bred male calves has never been more unclear. Late last year, Cork Marts announced its decision to pull out of the live export trade, which means one third of the live export calves that leave Ireland at the moment will now go to different markets.
It is understood Cork Marts exported a third of all Friesian calves last year, mainly Holstein Friesian bull calves.
Meanwhile, Joe Burke highlights that over the last three years, the Irish dairy herd has grown by more than 200,000 head to over 1.4 million cows.
While, he says there has been recent growth in the usage of Angus and Hereford sires he also notes that some 60% of calf registrations to dairy cows and heifers are comprised of pure-dairy progeny.
“Male Holstein-Friesians aged between 15 and 35 days make up the vast majority of Irish calf shipments.
“The younger, lighter calves are usually exported to the Netherlands for veal production, while the slightly older, stronger ones typically go to Spain for finishing as young bulls,” he said.