Viastar, the northeastern-based livestock exporting company, loaded 2,300 bulls on board the Shorthorn Express in Greenore on Saturday.

The ship is currently making the four-day boat journey to Casablanca port in Morocco, where it will unload on Thursday night. This is the first of a number of load of bulls that will be shipped to the North African market in the coming weeks.

A number of Irish exporters are competing to fill orders for eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East and this demand has injected a lot of energy into the trade in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the beef trade has taken a big turn this week, with quotes moving up by 10c/kg in some factories.

Last week’s kill dropped by a massive 2,700 head and this has left factories scrambling for supplies.

The Easter retail market is starting to ramp up and this has increased demand. Bullocks have moved up to €5.10/kg this week, with in-spec heifers working off €5.15/kg to €5.25/kg. Cows continue to be sought after with up to €4.90/kg being paid for good-quality cows this week. Bulls are also in demand with U-grading bulls trading as high as €5.40/kg this week.