The number of calves exported live in the week ending 27 February exceeded the 10,000 mark and was recorded at 10,750 head.

This was the first week of normal activity for live exports of calves after three storms in the previous 10 days curtailed any real significant level of activity at the start of the season.

The Dutch market accounted for the largest volume of calves with 6,211 head exported there, made up of 6,193 male calves and 18 female calves.

The Dutch market and the Spanish market remain by far the most critical markets for calves on a volume basis, with Spain importing 3,819 calves for the week ending 27 February.

Polish exports

Interestingly, Poland has imported calves on and off in recent years, with the country also a major exporter of calves to the Dutch market.

There were 280 calves exported live there, while it looks like there will be demand for calves from the Italian market again in 2022, with 270 calves exported in the latest week.

The final destination for calves was Northern Ireland, with 84 male calves and 41 female calves making the short trip north.

Strong performance

It is likely that last week’s strong performance will rollover into this week, with live exporters very active in mart sales and in sourcing calves direct off farms.

Reports indicate that exporters have been more selective in the type of calf they are purchasing in the last week, with higher numbers coming on to the market facilitating their selective purchasing.

Friesian bull calves in excess of 40kg are being sought for the Dutch market, with the Spanish market taking a mixture of stronger Friesian bulls and some Angus and Hereford calves.

Live export round-up

Outside of calves, there were 914 cattle exported in the finished animal category, with this including all animals in excess of 21 months of age.

Northern Ireland continues to be the main destination here, with 471 females and 196 males included in the total figure of 662 head.

Spain imported 102 head from this category (54 female and 48 male), while Italy and France imported 47 and 40 head respectively.

A total of 40 females were exported to England and 18 head to Wales, with these likely to be dairy cows.

There was 260 head in the store category, which comprises of animals aged 12 to 21 months old.

Of these, 107 head went to Italy, 101 to Northern Ireland, 20 to Spain, 24 to England and four to France.

The final category, weanlings, recorded live exports of 361 head. This included 211 cattle to Italy, 82 to Northern Ireland and 66 to Greece.

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