The latest live export figures published by Bord Bia shows live exports up to the week ending 9 April 2022 running at 117,443 head.

This represents an increase of 10,782 head on the corresponding period in 2021.

The increase in activity would almost certainly have been higher if Stena Line had not temporarily removed the Stena Horizon from the Rosslare to Cherbourg route for annual maintenance at the end of March.

The vessel was initially removed for a two-week period but the planned date of return of 12 April was subsequently extended until 19 April.

Live exports have been performing better than expected despite its absence. The export figure for the week ending 9 April was 11,129 head, an increase of 1,798 head on the corresponding week in 2021.

Category changes

The overall increase of 11,129 head hides significant changes in the trade in 2022. The live export calf trade to the Dutch market has recovered strongly following disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic in recent years.

The latest live export figures shows 5,013 head (mainly calves) transported to the Netherlands. This is 3,269 head above the corresponding period in 2021 while exports for the year to-date of 55,685 head are running 27,665 head, or 98.7%, higher.

In contrast to a vibrant Dutch market, live exports to Northern Ireland have fallen by 44.8%. Export volumes for the year to date are running at 15,536 head compared to 24,513 head for the corresponding timeline in 2021.

Live exports to Spain at 31,784 head are running 2,883 head lower or a reduction of 8.3%. There have been just 44 head exported to France compared to 2,480 in 2021. Live exports to the French market have been nearly non-existent in 2022, with just 44 head making the journey there, down from 2,480 in 2021. There has been a similar per head figure reduction to the Italian market, with exports of 8,127 head down 20.1% on 2021.

Non-EU countries

There has been more activity to non-EU, markets this year with exports of 5,887 head running 2,240 head higher, an increase of 61.4%. Libya has dominated the trade accounting for 5,051 head.

Exports there will also be boosted in the coming days with a shipment of bulls loading this weekend by Viastar Ltd.

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Stena suspends livestock shipping for two weeks