IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the prospects for the live export trade look much more promising for 2016.
Speaking from the Bord Bia Livestock exporters seminar in Tullamore this week Henry Burns said the major reduction in milk replacer costs and higher prices in Holland for veal calves should strongly drive calf exports. In addition, he said the slow recovery in the EU beef market and lower grain prices should boost demand for live exports of weanlings into the more intensive beef feeding systems in Italy and Spain.
Henry Burns 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.
The IFA Livestock leader said Minister Coveney needs to prioritise the live export trade and focus on removing the barriers restricting the trade to Northern Ireland and Britain and securing access to international markets like Turkey and Egypt. He said 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.
In addition, he 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.
Henry Burns said the EU Commission is forecasting EU beef production to increase slightly in 2016 by just 0.8%. Consumption is also set to increase slightly by 0.4%.
Last year Irish livestock exports reached 177,431 head a reduction of 25% from 2014 levels.