IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there are strong opportunities for the export of Irish livestock to Spain this year. Speaking following a visit to Spain by the IFA, organised by Bord Bia, Henry Burns said the Spanish importers and representatives of the Spanish feeders who he met believe imports from Ireland will increase in 2014.
Henry Burns said Ireland exported 36,844 head of livestock to Spain last year and this figure has the potential to more than double in 2014. He said there is a strong opportunity to grow calf imports this Spring and ship more weanlings in the second half of the year.
The IFA Livestock leader said, “The importers we met are of the view the Spanish sector is in recovery mode and will grow imports in 2014. Feed costs are down from last year and feeders are responding by importing more stock. In addition, beef prices have strengthened”.
In total, Spain imports between 400,000 and 500,000 head of livestock on an annual basis. The main suppliers are France, Poland, Ireland, Germany and Romania. Feedlot owners in Spain said that live exports to the Middle East and North Africa had provided a strong competitive boost to their trade over the last two years.
Spanish farmers are looking to import calves that are 4 to 5 weeks old and in the 53kg to 60kg weight range. On weanlings, Spanish feeders are looking for an average to good Continental cross bull and heifer ranging from 270kgs to 350kgs.
In 2010, Henry Burns pointed out that Ireland exported 338,000 head of livestock, tightening supplies and driving up cattle prices in 2012 and 2013. “There is no reason why calf exports cannot hit 160,000 head again in 2014, as recent events on bull prices show that keeping male dairy calves in the country is a major negative for the Irish beef sector.”