Speaking at the Fier Agricola trade fair in Verona, Italy this week, IFA Director of Livestock Kevin Kinsella said the prospects for the live export trade look much more promising this year. He said Ireland has the potential to significantly grow live exports to the Italian market from a base of 25,000 head in 2015. In the past, Ireland exported up to 75,000 head to the Italian market.
At the Bord Bia stand at Fier Agricola, Kevin Kinsella said live exports look much more promising based on a number of factors including the continuing improvements in the quality and health status of our stock. “With Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture and exporters, we visited a number of feedlots importing Irish cattle in Northern Italy this week. All of them clearly recognise the significant improvement in the quality and health status of Irish animals.”
“The recovery in the EU beef market, despite being slow, and lower grain prices should boost demand for live exports of weanlings into the more intensive beef feeding systems in Italy and Spain”.
In addition, Kevin Kinsella said the major reduction in milk replacer costs and higher prices in Holland for veal calves should strongly drive calf exports from Ireland this spring. “Veal prices are also going through a relatively positive period.”
Kevin Kinsella said a strong live export trade is essential for price competition and to maximise market outlets. He said, with Bord Bia forecasting 50,000 to 80,000 more cattle for sale in 2016, a vibrant live export trade was never more important.
On market access and outlets, Kevin Kinsella said Ireland needs to prioritise the live export trade and focus on removing the barriers restricting the trade to Northern Ireland and Britain as well as securing access to international markets like Turkey and Egypt. “It is not acceptable that retailers and processors are allowed to use the EU labelling rules to deny the free operation of the EU single market.”
The IFA Livestock Director said Ireland should have access to Turkey and Egypt like other EU countries which are exporting tens of thousands of cattle to these markets. He pointed out that last year France exported over 80,000 head to Turkey. “In the next few days, Egyptian vets will visit Ireland and hopefully progress can be made on access to this important market.”
Last year Irish livestock exports reached 177,431 head a reduction of 25% from 2014 levels.