There is a “steady” demand from “key” markets for Irish calves, weanlings and store cattle, Bord Bia’s 2023 meat marketing seminar has heard.
That is what Mark Zieg, Bord Bia beef sector manager, told attendees at the state agency’s event in Killashee Hotel in Naas last week on January 13th, 2023.
He outlined that there are indications of a “firm” calf trade again in 2023. However, in doing so, he did warn that the longer-term outlook is “challenging” given the “ongoing” pressures on trade, particuarly calves.
He said that overall, there is “strong” export growth in value and volume terms.
At the event, which featured a host of expert speakers that examined and discussed the biggest challenges and opportunities for the Irish meat industry and presented an outlook for 2023, he provided an insight into live exports across various countries in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Data he presented to attendees showed that live exports were up by 16% in 2022 from the previous year, or 38,989 head.
286,347 cattle were exported in 2022, a figure that was up from 2021 levels at 247,358 head and 266,153 the following year.
The region that showed the largest increase on a percentage basis was Slovakia, as exports rose from 121 head in 2012 to 1,293 head in 2022, a 969% difference.
The country showing the largest decrease, to the tune of -72%, was Belgium, where Ireland exported 572 cattle in 2022, compared to 2,044 in 2021 and 4,229 head in 2020.
Countries other than the Netherlands, Spain, Northern Ireland, Italy, Libya, Turkey, Poland, Great Britain, Egypt, Jordan, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Lebanon, and Belgium, fell into the ‘others’ bracket, which also showed a 72% decline.
Cattle exports to these countries stood at 1,099 head in 2022, 3,932 in 2021 and 8,031 head in 2020.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, previously stated that “anyone who thinks we will have unweaned calf exports forever is sorely mistaken”.
However, he stressed that he will “fight tooth and nail” to ensure that live exports can continue.
“I am not saying that the writing is on the wall, and I will continue to be a real advocate for live exports. But, what I am saying is that there is a massive challenge, one that we have to be alert to.”
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