Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Demand for calf exports to the continent weakens

Martin Ryan

After a record start to the year for the live shipping of calves to the continent, sales to the export markets have almost dried up over the last two months.

Weekly exports have dropped to less than 15pc of the levels recorded for the same period last year, although exports for the year to mid-August show an increase of 36pc on the same period in 2009.

Year-to-date exports have increased to over 40,000hd on 2009 at a total of 153,882, having peaked at 11,000hd/wk.

Major exporters and marts have confirmed a serious lull in the trade.

Lower numbers on offer and increased competition from farmers in the marts have been put forward as the main reason for the fall-off in shipping activity.


Stronger farmer demand for calves has pushed prices beyond the reach of exporters.

Tighter credit control on the part of the marts and banks, at home and abroad, is also understood to have contributed to the downturn.

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Adam Buitelar, Seamus Scallan and Cork Marts have all confirmed this week that they have stopped exporting calves.

However, Wicklow-based exporter Seamus Scallan, said he hoped to recommence the purchase of calves for export from next week.

"Prices for calves have been strong and credit is very tight everywhere which is affecting exporters and our customers on the continent," Mr Scallan admitted.

Irish Independent