Suckler farmers are facing into the crucial autumn weanling sales with positivity.

The early special weanling sales have seen prices rise by up to €30/head compared with last year.

Live exports continue to surge too.

For the week ending 1 July, they are running 44% ahead of last year.

So far this year, a total of 133,686 cattle have been shipped live from Ireland. This compares with 92,231 up to 1 July 2016.

The biggest growth came from international markets, with 9,688 shipped this year, up from zero in 2016. This has been driven by exports to Turkey, Libya and Egypt.

A further 3,000 bulls were shipped last week.

These are not part of the 9,688 figure. Another 2,000 bulls are set to sail next Monday.

Positive developments

In further positive developments, beef exports and consumption continues to perform strongly. Consumption in the 28 EU countries is up 1.2% ahead of last year, while exports of beef from the EU are up a massive 27% on last year.

All major markets, including Hong Kong, the Philippines and Algeria, have grown significantly on last year. Exports to Hong Kong, often seen as a gateway to China, have nearly doubled to over 700,000t, while there has been a fourfold increase to 500,000t of beef shipped to the Philippines.

For the first four months of this year, Ireland shipped 6,658t to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, IFA Livestock chair Angus Woods has said the “beef trade is stronger this week with factories very anxious for cattle and finding it difficult to get adequate numbers to meet very strong market demand”.

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