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Saturday 3 December 2016

Sheep exports up 11pc this year

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

A flock of Mayo Blackface sheep
A flock of Mayo Blackface sheep

Irish sheep meat exports rose 11pc to €114m in the first six months of the year, figures show.

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The latest export statistics from Bord Bia show that the value of the exports were up 20pc in the first half of 2015, with France and the UK accounting for almost two thirds of the volume of products.

Bord Bia's Declan Fennell said the volume of exports to France fell by 5pc to 7,000t, with poor retail sales and farmer protests over food imports to blame.

However, shipments to Belgium grew by almost a third, while the UK market was up 44pc.

Challenge

Mr Fennell said the sheep meat industry has moved towards diversifying into more value-added sales throughout the EU.

He said Irish sheep meat exports are growing at a faster rate than volume, mainly due to the shift away from trading in carcasses towards developing value-added and primal-cuts.

However, this offers greater scope to optimise the product and market mix which ultimately leads to a better price return back to the farmer, he added.

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Teagasc advisor John Noonan said he has been working with the 220-strong member Mayo Blackface sheep group to try and bring added value to their product and alert farmers to sales outlets and purchasers. He said they've created the website www.mayoblackface.com to provide people with extra advice to help drive productivity, with the next sale on September 26 in Aurivo Ballinrobe.

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