The total number of cattle exported live to the week ending 5 December 2020 stands at 255,847 head. This represents a 34,220 head, or 11.8%, reduction on 2019 levels.

This reduction has occurred despite a near doubling in the number of cattle exported to Northern Ireland.

The total number of cattle crossing the border north up to the first week of December is running at 60,406 head. This is an increase of 28,808 head, or 91.2%, on the corresponding period in 2019.

This is being underpinned by a sharp increase in the number of finished cattle exported north in recent months for direct slaughter.

However, greater activity from Northern Ireland fails to compensate for much lower live exports of calves.

Table 1 details exports by type of animal and clearly shows the effects of a much slower live export trade for calves in spring 2020.

The number of cattle exported to the Netherlands at 48,823 head is 42.2% or 35,610 head lower than the strong performance recorded in 2019.

Lower calf exports to Spain, Italy and France are also having an influence, with exports running 9,547, 8,380 and 4,582 head lower respectively.