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Blues see red over exports jibe

The Belgian Blue society has hit back at reports that its breed is in declining demand on export markets.

Its 12-member council met on Friday night to address comments attributed to a livestock exporter at a recent beef event in Roscommon.

"We're convinced that the Italian market remains strong for good quality Belgian Blue cattle," said society president Cyril Martin.

Mullingar-based exporter David Garavelli said that the Belgian Blue breed had suffered from over-use in matings with lower quality animals.

"The Belgian Blue Society is worried that it is going to lose sales but it should have thought of this before it started selling bulls to everybody and anybody," said Mr Garavelli.

"The market for these premium quality animals is much smaller than the society wants to believe. There is no point mating a Belgian Blue with an Aberdeen Angus. But if a farmer makes the correct mating, he has nothing to worry about," he added.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia's Joe Burke said that it was understandable that the demand for Irish cattle for export to Italy was lower this year, given the domestic competition for stock at the moment.

"Several French regions experienced problems with drought and feed scarcity and this resulted in many animals having to be sold earlier than normal. This has naturally had a knock-on impact on the prices achievable for Irish animals in Italy," he said.

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