The weanling trade is set for a big boost in 2023, with a number of Irish exporters now actively buying for the Turkish market.

Turkey has become one of the most important markets for Irish weanlings in the last few months, with record numbers being shipped in December 2022.

Viastar, the Meath-based live export company operated by James Mallon, loaded just almost 3,500 weanlings on to the Ganado Express in Greenore Port, Co Louth, just before Christmas, with the boat docking in the Turkish port of Bandirma on 3 January.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that Turkish buyers are very happy with the weanlings landed in Turkey and have already placed orders with a number of exporters for more weanlings in 2023.

Good year for exports

2022 was a very good year, with exports of weanlings almost doubling to just under 35,000 when compared with the 2021 figures.

All indications are that 2023 will see the 35,000 figure exceeded again, with a lot of enquiries coming from the Middle East and North Africa for both weanlings and store cattle.

Speaking to mart managers around the country, they say that weanling sales were very big in the autumn and winter months, as farmers offloaded weanlings due to the positive trading conditions and also high feeding costs.

This will mean fewer weanlings coming out in the next few months, which could lead to problems sourcing the 10,000 weanlings required in the first three months of 2023.

Suitable animals

Exporters have been paying over €3/kg to get suitable animals in marts in November and December, but this is set to increase as demand outstrips supplies in the next few months.

Over €4/kg was paid for 280kg Limousin weanlings in Gortatlea Mart before Christmas.

Exporter competition around the ring will drive weanling prices further in the coming weeks.

An improving beef trade will also mean finishers will be fit to compete stronger around the rings also.