Live exports of cattle have performed strongly in April and May with volumes exported up to early May exceeding 2023 levels and surpassing 200,000 head.

The strong recovery reported by Bord Bia has seen exports switch from running upwards of 20% behind 2023 levels to now running 3% higher.

Calf exports up to the week ending 11 May 2024 were recorded at 161,468 head and on a par to 2023 levels.

After a very slow start to the year, exports to the Netherlands have increased in recent weeks with Ireland benefitting from tighter calf supplies across Europe.

A total of 63,069 cattle were exported there in 2024, a reduction of 25,366 head on 2023 levels.

Exports to Spain are running at 54,256 head, up 7,923 on 2023, while the Italy has developed into a strong market for calves with exports to Italy of 32,334 head running 11,692 head, or 56.6% higher.

Over half of this comprises calves. The Polish market has also repeated its positive performance and has imported just shy of 10,000 head.

Exports in weanlings and stores have benefitted from demand from non-EU markets. Over 3,500 cattle have been exported to Morocco and over 2,000 have been sent to Algeria.

Exports to Turkey from Ireland have dried up in 2024 but exports to eastern European markets providing cattle to Turkey are performing positively with 4,161 cattle exported to Romania, up 2,803.

Meanwhile, 2,279 cattle were exported to Malta, up 2,242 on the corresponding period in 2023. Exports to Hungary have eased slightly by 1,835 head.

Bord Bia’s Seamus McMenamin says the outlook for 2024 remains positive with tighter cattle supplies across Europe driving demand for Irish cattle.