Irish beef exports are facing a challenging 2017, as the continued impact of Brexit hits home and an increased supply of beef comes on the market.
It comes as cattle finishers were estimated to have had net losses last year and the supply of beef across Europe is predicted to increase in 2017.
Bord Bia estimates that finished cattle supplies will increase “significantly” in 2017, as the impact of an increase of 133,000 calf registrations in 2015 is felt.
The volume of cattle coming through Irish meat processors in 2017 is predicted to increase by up to 6pc and Michael Carey said that would present challenges, but work was continuing to increase market access to new countries. However, he said the UK will continue to account for around 50pc of Irish beef exports.
Michael Carey Bord Bia Chairman said, at the announcement of Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects, that beef exports face a challenging 2017.
"The increase in cattle supplies at home will present challenges. There is no point in saying anything else."
Coupled with that, beef exports to the UK were one of the areas hit most over the past 12 months as Sterling fluctuations saw the value of food and drink trade by a potential €570m.
Meat and livestock accounts for 33pc of total Irish food and drink exports and within that beef exports are worth in the region of €2.38 billion.
The Minister for Agriculture and Food Michael Creed also said that new markets are important, the UK will remain our largest and most important market for beef.
“New markets are important and we recently gained access to Egypt, a market that had been until recently been supplied to a large extent by Australia. However, drought conditions in Australia had changed its ability to supply this market and it has the potential to be a significant market for Ireland.
“This does not mean that Ireland is abandoning the UK market. It is the most valuable market for us in terms of beef exports. Bord Bia has been involved with its customer base and the Minister said he had met with both Tesco and Sainsburys and the message that he receive was that is that 2017 will see food inflation in the UK and that will help Irish exporters.”