Sharp lift in demand for calves across EU
Boom year predicted with enquiries at 20-year high
A boom year for the live export of calves to the continent is being predicted for this year, with demand from continental buyers reported to have hit a 20-year high.
Exporters confirm increased demand for Irish-born calves in Holland and Spain, with a significant breakthrough in Italy during last year set to further boost the trade in a major turnaround of the export market for calves.
Calf exports increased by 116pc last year to 123,451hd -- this the highest level of activity in 20 years. The Netherlands and Spain were the principal markets at 68,635hd and 24,469hd. Northern Ireland was the third largest outlet last year taking 7,737hd.
Exports peaked at more than 8,000hd/week in March, falling back to 3,000hd/week in June. However, the end-of-year exports held at an all-time high of 1,200hd/week.
Seamus Scallan, Wicklow Cattle Exporters, has confirmed strong forward demand from customers in Netherlands and Spain, increased demand in Italy for Irish Friesians and contracts with three new firms in Italy for Belgian Blues.
Carlow-based exporter, Adam Buitelaar, said market prospects remain very positive with veal markets returning €5/kg.
"I see the position very positive with veal at €5/kg, which is very good. The increase in cost of milk powder is effecting profitability in Holland where they feed 350kg milk powder/ calf compared to 25kg/calf in this country, but they find that the Irish calves do very well," Mr Buitelaar claimed.
Export markets are expected to return from €60/hd for small Holstein bulls and up to €125/hd for the better quality Friesian bulls.