Live calf exports up sixfold
Live exports of calves are now topping 6,500hd/week following a sixfold increase in the weekly trade to the continent since last February.
Within the past three weeks, weekly exports have increased from 1,177 calves per week to 6,557 as the trade takes off after a slow start to the trade for this year.
Belgium has emerged as the largest market for calves in recent weeks, with the most recent returns showing weekly exports from Ireland at 2,837 head.
This represents a 14pc rise on the same week last year, and a rapid increase from a total of 191 exported during the first five weeks of the year.
Other markets that are also showing a rapid increase in demand over the past three weeks include the Netherlands which is taking 2,626 animals per week, while weekly exports to Spain are now topping 1,060 calves.
Despite the weekly increases, overall exports for 2011 remain up to 42pc behind last year's levels according to figures obtained from the Department of Agriculture.