Livestock trading company has just completed Ireland’s first ever full shipment of in-calf pedigree Holstein heifers to Algeria.

The shipment of 1,021 heifers set sail from Waterford port on 4 January, arriving seven days later on 11 January. This isn’t the first load of Irish cattle to make the trip to Algeria, but it is the largest single shipment to date. Upon arrival, the heifers were distributed from two different ports to three farms in Algeria. All heifers were sourced in Ireland, and strictly had to be pedigree-registered Holstein Friesian.

Up to now the Loughnavalley, Co Westmeath-based company has been primarily exporting and importing livestock from the UK and Europe.

However, with political issues permanently halting the export of livestock from Germany, and disease issues halting the export of livestock from France to markets in northern Africa and the Middle East, the owner of, David Clarke, sees huge potential for Ireland to supply these markets.


“Germany and France had these markets pretty well sown up prior to now. France could have been exporting in the region of 20,000 to 30,000 cattle to Algeria on an annual basis.

“But this has all changed, and although it’s a high-risk business, there is good potential here now for Ireland. In a period where we see Ireland and Europe cutting back on dairy cow numbers, we are seeing northern Africa and Middle Eastern/Asian countries, including Algeria, Syria, Libya, Morocco and Egypt, all increasing cow numbers,” he said.

Clarke added that the Algerians are very happy with the heifers they have received, and the company is already in talks about another potential shipment.

“If this goes ahead, we will be buying heifers again in March and April. We have also had recent enquiries from other countries for similar stock. I can see there being a big market for the export of dairy stock in the future, but that’s only if the cattle are in Ireland to be sourced. With the increased use of sexed semen, I can see there being more of a heifer shortage going forward,” he said.


“The deal initially came about when Bord Bia brought a group of us over to Algeria in 2022. The Algerians wanted a 500-600kg heifer, five to seven months in-calf with a good body condition score essential. The heifers had to be pedigree-registered Holstein Friesian, and the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) were a massive help to us sourcing the livestock.

“The Algerian government pays farmers a subsidy if they keep pedigree stock that produce a minimum of 7,000l/milk/year, so that’s what drove the demand for this type of a heifer. Before shipping, the Algerians sent over livestock inspectors from France to ensure the cattle were up to spec,” explained Clarke.

Export process

The heifers were bought around the country, blood-tested to ensure full health status, and vaccinated for IBR and leptospirosis. They were subsequently put in-calf, the majority (80%) to Holstein Friesian, with the remainder in-calf to Angus. Before export, all animals entered a 30-day Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine supervised quarantine period. They were blood tested at the start, half way through and again on completion.

The heifers set sail on the Department-certified Finola M livestock carrier, which is registered to a Dubai-based company. All heifers were fed 4kg of hay and 5kg of nuts daily. Although it was a seven-day journey, enough feed was loaded for 12 days in case the weather changed and the boat got caught at sea for a few additional days.

A stockman from accompanied the livestock over to Algeria, supervising the daily feeding and husbandry on the journey. Upon arriving safe and sound in Algeria, the heifers have since entered another 30-day quarantine period.