Live cattle exports are on track to be the same as 2020 levels, according to Bord Bia.

Live exports of cattle up to 22 August stood at 204,293 head, a decrease of 1,758 head on the corresponding period in 2020 and a decrease of just over 35,000 on the same period in 2019.

The top five destinations for live cattle exports so far in 2021 have been Spain, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Italy and Libya.

All countries have seen a decrease in live exports since 2019, with the exception of Northern Ireland and Libya.

Calf exports to the Netherlands are back by 42% when compared with 2019, while Spanish exports are back by almost 20% compared to 2019.

There is hope that exports will recover in 2022, as Europe starts to get back to normal life after COVID-19.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Bord Bia’s Seamus McMenamin said: “Northern Ireland has been the standout performer in 2021 with live exports increased by 29,820 or 144% on 2019 levels. The majority of these have been finished cattle, with the NI market accounting for 70% of live exports for the week ending 22 August.

“There were 1,644 cattle exported to NI for that week, which is a massive increase on last year.”

With supplies of finished cattle expected to remain tight north of the border for the foreseeable future, this increased trade is expected to continue well into the autumn and winter months.