Next spring's calf exports under threat from Dutch truck regulations
The crucial export of live calves to the Netherlands is set to be further hampered next spring on the back of new EU regulations.
Over 70,000 Irish calves went for live export last year, but that number is under threat from changes to different European countries' regulations around IBR and transport laws.
It is understood the issues centre around changes in the interpretation of the European Union rules on animal transport in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has been applying a particular interpretation to EU rules in relation to the approval of trucks carrying unweaned calves which is proving difficult for Irish live exporters to comply with.
Department of Agriculture officials are currently working with industry and the Dutch Authorities to come up with a workable technical or other solution to the issue.
The live cattle trade has proved more difficult in recent years due to the fact that Belgium has embarked on an IBR eradication programme; this imposes extra requirements on cattle being exported to Belgium from other Member States (such as Ireland) that are not IBR free.
The Department says while the extra requirements can be complied with in relation to older cattle without too much difficulty, in practice the additional requirements make the export of young calves to Belgium unviable at present.