Cork Marts decision to cease calf exports 'irreversible'
The decision of Cork Marts to discontinue live export of dairy calves is 'irreversible' despite strong criticism of the move from farmers dependent on the trade.
"We will not be reversing the decision. It was a hard decision to take but we could not continue losing money, in a situation which got worse during the past year, we had to take action in the interest of the shareholders and the society", Sean O'Sullivan, CEO, Cork Marts Group told the Farming Independent yesterday. Alarmed farming leaders described the decision as "inconceivable".
However, the board of Cork Marts Group is to meet this week to consider a reduction of commission charges on calf sales for both sellers and buyers to "incentivise" the continuation of the trade.
Cork Marts entered the direct export of calves in 2009 and have been exporting 15,000-20,000 calves per annum, mainly to Holland and Spain.
Bandon continues to be the largest calf mart in the country with weekly throughput of up to 1,800 calves at peak.
"It has always been a very tight margin business and we have always struggled to make it profitable while also supporting our calf sellers.
"The past season was very difficult with further downward pressure on margin and operating costs on an upward curve," Sean O'Sullivan said.
ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher this week described as "deep alarm" the decision of Cork Marts to withdraw from the trade.