The latest live export figures published by Bord Bia covering up to the end of July show live cattle exports running at 220,338 head.

This represents an increase of 22,530 head, or 11.4%, on the corresponding period in 2021.

The increase in exports is being underpinned by the number of stock exported to the Netherlands almost doubling, with exports increasing by 46,970 head, or a massive 97.7%, to reach 95,066 head.

Calves account for the majority of livestock exported, with demand recovering strongly after a few years of COVID-19-related disruption.


In contrast, live exports to almost all the other regular destinations in the EU recorded lower export volumes.

The most dominant drop-off has been to Northern Ireland. The number of cattle making the short journey north fell by 20,358 head to 25,854.

Reports indicate that a much stronger beef trade in Ireland in the first half of the year reduced the competitiveness of Northern Ireland buyers.

Exports to Spain also reduced, but to a much lesser extent of 4,290 head. Numbers exported there are still extremely positive at 59,343 head. Spike in activity

The huge spike in activity in the Dutch market is reported as accounting for calves that may otherwise have been exported to Spain, while the increase in export activity to the Netherlands saw exporters focus on this market at the expense of others.

For example, live export numbers to Italy, at 21,636 head, reduced by 1,714 on 2021 volumes.

There were just 572 animals exported to Belgium, down 1,400 head on the year, while it was a similar situation in France, with export volumes falling by 2,463 head and recorded at just 64.