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Irish Herd Reflecting Beef Challenges and Dairy Optimism

29 September 2014

IRELAND – Cattle numbers are stable but confidence in dairying is obvious, according to market analysts reacting to the June 2014 Irish cattle survey.

Dairy cow numbers are over five per cent higher this year at 1.226 million head as farms prepare for milk quota removal next year.

Beef cow numbers fell however, back two per cent at 1.129 million.

EBLEX analysts said this reflects profitability issues in the beef sector, which is about to see a glut of beef on the market.

“The survey reported significantly more cattle on the ground over two-years-of-age as a result of increasing calf crops and the sharp fall in live exports in 2011 and 2012,” an EBLEX spokesperson said.

“The number of male cattle over two-years-of-age was up 17 per cent, while female cattle numbers of the same age were up by 13 per cent.

“This again indicates that more cattle are available for beef finishing in Ireland for the remainder of this year and into early 2015. In turn, this is likely to result in more products becoming available for export in 2014.”

However, UK bound beef could be an answer, despite UK production expected to lift.

“Looking further ahead, the survey gave an indication of lower supplies in 2015 and beyond. Live exports recovered partially in 2013.

“With significantly more calves exported to France, Belgium and Spain last year, the number of younger cattle in Ireland in most categories is reported to be back on the year.

“The number of cattle between one and two years of age was reported to be back 44,000 head on the year earlier and those under one year of age back 90,000 head.

“Prospects for the live export trade continue to be positive, with potential to grow on the back of the reopening of the trade to Libya and North Africa.”

On the whole, government expectation for a drop in Irish beef and veal next year are supported.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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