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Thursday 18 January 2018

Beef boost as Libyan deal gets green light

First shipment of 1,850 bulls scheduled for later this month

Patsy McCabe, Blakestown Farm, Ardee, Co Louth, hosts a North Eastern Charolais Club farm visit to his herd.
Patsy McCabe, Blakestown Farm, Ardee, Co Louth, hosts a North Eastern Charolais Club farm visit to his herd.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Cattle exports to Libya will resume this month with stock for shipping already being purchased in the marts and off farms.

The contract is being handled by Supreme Livestock, which is owned by well-known Charolais breeders Patsy McCabe and his son Patrick Jnr.

The move is a further boost to an already strong cattle trade, with marts again reporting very strong demand over the last few days.

The McCabes, who are based in Ardee, Co Louth, plan to ship 1,850 bulls and are looking for Friesians, Herefords, Aberdeen Angus, Simmentals, Charolais and Limousins.

The cattle must be under 24 months of age.

"This is good news for farmers because we're taking all types of bulls. We want Friesians of 300-400kgs, Hereford and Angus of 400-500kg and Continentals of 450-550kg," Patsy McCabe told the Farming Independent.

"We have 800 bought so far and hope to have the rest purchased by the end of this week," he added.

The cattle will be shipped from Greenore to North Africa later this month. Mr McCabe said further exports to Libya were possible "if cattle didn't get too dear".

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The Libyan deal is the latest positive development in the export trade this year. Last week it was reported that Quinn International Livestock had secured a contract to supply heavy stock to Algeria for the Ramadan festival which starts later this month.

Meanwhile, Purcell Brothers' first boatload of 3,000 cattle for Turkey sailed last week. The company are contracted to supply a further 20,000 head by the end of the year.

The continued expansion in live exports has been welcomed by the farm organisations.

The IFA's Angus Woods said additional live exports were very positive for the trade.

He pointed out that almost 100,000 head had been exported so far this year and he predicted that further contracts would come on stream as the year progressed.

Michael Guinan of ICMSA said it was good to see export markets opening up for both older and plainer-type cattle.

"This will help put a floor on the market," he said.

ICSA president Patrick Kent said the "latest success in live exports" counteracted what he described as "the dismal projections" in the beef trade as a result of Brexit and strong cattle supplies.

The cattle trade in the marts has remained very strong, with tighter numbers of quality stock and competition between farmers, finishers, factory buyers and exporters ensuring strong prices.

In Carnew Mart on Saturday Friesian bulls suitable for shipping made €1.60- 1.70/kg, with Hereford and Angus bulls making €2.00- 2.25/kg, and quality Continentals up to €3.00/kg. David Quinn said there was particularly strong demand for beef heifers, with good quality lots making up to €900 with their weight. The lift in cattle prices has also been reflected in the cow rings, with 600kg

Friesian cows generally making between €950 and €1,100 a head in New Ross. However, cows with flesh were making close to €2.00/ kg.

Numbers were tighter in Roscommon this week, but Hereford bullocks made up to €700-800 along with the €1/kg, while Continentals made up to €900 with the weight. And in the border region, both confidence and money is currently strong judging by last week’s sale in Castleblayney.

The ‘handy’ Charolais bullock made from 370- 409kgs made from €2.69- 2.80/kg while among the more forward 550-586kg continental’s prices ranged from €2.24-2.33/kg. In the weanling bull section prices went from €2.28-2.81/kg at weights from 213-349kgs.


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