Viastar, the Meath-based cattle exporting company, has secured a contract to export 3,500 weanlings to the Middle East over the next number of months.

The contract could also potentially see a further two boatloads of 3,500 weanlings each being exported alongside the current boatload.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, a spokesperson for Viastar said: “We are just starting to move to source and buy stock for the first boatload that will hopefully depart in November.

“We are looking for Friesian bulls weighing between 200kg and 500kg and continental bulls around the same weight.”

Weanlings will be sourced on farms and in marts.

Live exports in 2023 are currently running almost 20% ahead of the same period in 2022. Up until the end of August, 20,897 weanlings had been exported, an increase of 5,618 head from the 2022 figure.

Calf exports are running 22% ahead of 2022 with just over 200,000 calves exported so far in 2023, the majority of which went to the Netherlands.

The US Department of Agriculture has estimated that Turkey’s live cattle imports will hit 470,000 head in 2023 on the back of new import licences being issued by the Turkish government.

Retail prices for beef have spiralled up to 2.5 times in the last 12 months and with beef demand set to increase, the Government wants to curb food inflation through the import of feeder cattle.