Live cattle exports up 31% in 2018 - Bord Bia
Adam Woods attended the Bord Bia meat marketing strategy update in Naas, Co Kildare, on Friday and gets an update from Joe Burke on what the state of play is.

Live cattle exports are up 31% to 246,000 head when compared with 2017 levels of 187,000 head exported.

Calf exports saw the biggest rise in 2018, up by 55% to 158,000 head.

The biggest mover was Belgium, which saw cattle exports from Ireland rise from 5,525 head in 2017 to 13,549 in 2018.

Spain also saw growth of 83% with 92,495 head of cattle exported in 2018, an increase of 42,000 head on 2017 levels.

Dairy herd influence

The influence of the dairy herd is increasing and shaping the breed make-up of our national cattle herd.

Friesian-registered calves have increased by 2% in 2018, while Aberdeen Angus and Hereford have grown by 2% and 4%.

This is in contrast with continental beef breeds, which have seen a drop in registrations in 2018.

Limousin-sired progeny are back by 4%, while Charolais are back by 6%.

Belgian Blue-sired cattle have taken the biggest hit, with a drop of 15% recorded in 2018.

The only continental breed to buck this trend was Simmental, showing a 4% increase in registrations in 2018.

Carcase weights

Beef supplies were up 3% in 2018.

However, weather and the growing influence of the dairy herd had an impact on carcase weights, with steer weights back by 2.9kg, heifers by 1.5kg and cull cows by 5.6kg.

Young bulls saw an increase in carcass weight of 2.8kg.

Animals were slaughtered on average two weeks older in 2018 and weather is thought to have been the main driver of this.

Ireland wasn’t the only country to have an increase in beef supply, with UK slaughterings up 2.1%, France up 2%, Italy up 2.9% and overall EU cattle supplies up by 1.7%.

The forecast for 2019 is for a slight decline in EU beef production by 1.7%.

Export value

Irish beef exports were valued at €2.5bn in 2018, a rise of 1% on the 2017 figure.

Export volume was up by 3% to 573,000t, meaning value growth has lagged behind volume growth.

Fifty-two percent of Irish beef exports went to the UK, 44% to other EU markets and 4% to other international markets.

In terms of global consumption forecasts, it’s a positive story, with a 1.5% forecasted increase in beef consumption in 2019.

On the world stage, Brazil, Argentina and the USA are ramping up exports, with imports into the EU from Brazil up 40% on 2017 levels, while imports from Argentina were up 22% on 2017 levels.

For more live updates from the Bord Bia conference, stay tuned to

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Watch: meat markets to improve later this year – but Brexit lies in between

Watch: new Agri Aware campaign to air in cinemas and on TV
The ‘Many Hats, One CAP’ advert is set to air on television and in cinemas in the coming weeks, with the campaign highlighting how important investment in agriculture is to the wider Irish economy.

This week, Agri Aware launched its new 'Many Hats, One CAP' TV and cinema advert.

Produced by Traction Marketing, the advert is part of a wider campaign which aims to promote and showcase how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) affects everyday life in Ireland, whether that is subsidies paid to a farmer directly or the countless indirect knock-ons that keep rural Ireland alive.

The launch took place at Movies Dundrum, Dublin, on Thursday evening, where both the full and short versions of the advert where premiered for the first time on screen.

Rural landscape

The ad itself follows a day in the life of a number of characters who make up the rural landscape in Ireland.

From clips of rural entrepreneur and chef Edward Hayden cooking up a storm in his Graiguenamanagh cookery school, to farmer Kevin Moran up before dawn in Galway to milk his dairy herd, it gives viewers a glimpse into the role the agri-food industry plays.

Agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive

At the premiere, there was a panel of guest speakers which included Agri Aware chair Alan Jagoe and three of the stars in the ad; Hayden, Moran and Teagasc researcher Dr Dayle Johnston.

Hosted by Marty Morrissey, the panel reiterated the point that agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive, and the CAP is central to that.

Alan Jagoe spoke of the huge work, time and spend going behind the campaign.

“It costs money to put it out there, but consumers and society need to know where their money is going and who they are supporting.

"There needs to be an understanding and respect for the production costs and efforts that go into food production,” he stressed.

2016 FBD young farmer of the year Kevin Moran made the point that CAP itself “is not just one thing – a subsidy for a farmer - it is much more than that; it’s an investment in food security, an investment in rural economies and this investment is invaluable to rural Ireland”.

'Many Hats, One CAP' is a 12-month public information campaign that will go live across TV, radio, cinema, social media and print over the coming weeks.

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Agri Aware, the CAP and Micheál

'Farmers must tell their story' – new Agri Aware chair

Farmers to lodge appeals over Castleblayney Mart next week
Around 40 of an estimated 100 farmers owed money by a collapsed Co Monaghan auctioneering firm have decided to pursue legal action against the Property Services Regulatory Authority.

Farmers left unpaid by the liquidation of EP Nugent Ltd, the company operating Castleblayney Mart, have decided to launch legal action against the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA).

At a meeting on Thursday, attendees heard that one case against the PSRA failed, but won when it went to appeal.


Solicitor Paul McCormack told the Irish Farmers Journal that they have agreed to put “in a claim under the property services regulation Act 2011".

"Section 78 part three allows us to bring a claim. One case went forward to the Property Services Regulation Authority and was refused but went through to the property services appeal board and won.”

He says that the basis for the claim is that EP Nugent Ltd was trading “dishonestly” by not having a license.

“There’s 40 individual cases,” McCormack said, adding that the average claim is approximately €1,000.

“Nugent would like to see the farmers paid. There’s no guarantee it will happen. Claims had to be lodged within 12 months of the people finding out there was a problem. The liquidation was 9 April 2018 so we are up tight against the wire.”

McCormack advised that anyone who wants to make a claim should get in touch with his office at Thomas Street, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, or the IFA.

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Chlorothalonil ban ‘a hammer blow’ to tillage farmers
The Irish Grain Growers Group has come out against the discontinuation of chlorothalonil.

The discontinuation of chlorothalonil is a hammer blow to Irish tillage farmers, Irish Grain Growers Group chair Bobby Miller has said.

On Friday, the European Commission voted to ban chlorothalonil, a key ingredient in Bravo, which is used by tillage farmers to fight septoria and ramularia.

Cost-efficient product

“The one good thing about Bravo is that it is a cost-efficient product. There will be alternatives available in the future, but will be they be as cost-effective for the farmer and will they be as effective as Bravo,” Miller told the Irish Farmers Journal.

We have to stand back and allow imports of grains from all over the world

He also said that any alternative products will have to be tested in the Irish climate as well.

Miller also hit out at the importation of grain from around the world into Ireland.

“Yet we have to stand back and allow imports of grains from all over the world, with different standards applied, arrive into the country to be fed to livestock.

“We, as tillage farmers, are being made fools of by the EU talking out of both sides of their mouth.

"The Irish grain quality assurance system is a joke when our Irish grain can be mixed with any sort of grain and waste in merchants' and millers' processing plants,” he said.

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Chlorothalonil to be discontinued

Loss of CTL could result in 10% yield loss in barley - BASF conference