Veal doubt as Dutch pull aid
Irish calf exports face a major challenge this year since the withdrawal of the veal slaughter subsidy in Holland on January 1.
The subsidy, worth €33 per white veal calf and €66 per rosé veal calf, equated to a price boost of around 30c/kg on a 200kg calf.
Veal price remained fairly constant throughout last year, at 420c/kg, while costs of production were around 400c/kg.
Despite the loss of this direct payment, Irish calf exporter Adam Buitelaar believes the trade for Irish calves this year will remain on a par with 2009.
According to Bord Bia, 123,451 calves were exported live from Ireland in 2009, an increase of 66,501 on the previous year. "The loss of the subsidy will make it a bit more difficult for Irish calves but my feeling is that the trade will be much the same as last year," Mr Buitelaar said.
Calf numbers in Ireland are also expected to increase this year, potentially adding more supply to the market.
"There are several pointers that the veal market in 2010 will be down but I believe the market will hold up," he said.