The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed needs to prioritise the live trade and make sure no restrictions are imposed in order to achieve a doubling in export numbers in 2019, IFA president Joe Healy has said.

“A strong live export trade is essential for price competition in the cattle trade and for providing major market outlets, especially for calves and weanlings.”

Maximising ferry and lairage capacity is key to meeting the export supply and demand for calves this year, a meeting of live exporters in Portlaoise this week heard.

The exporters also said that any reduction in the current 29-day assembly period for the live trade would be very damaging to the sector.

Access to Turkey

Healy said the exporters also raised issues regarding access to Turkey and the need to make more progress on our disease status.

Live exports reached 246,000 head in 2018, of which 158,000 were calves.

Weanlings and stores made up 64,000 head and adult cattle 24,000.

The main live export market was Spain, taking over 92,000 head followed by the Netherlands at 46,000. Over 24,000 head of weanlings were exported to Italy and 16,600 calves were sent to Belgium.

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