Boat to Libya welcome but more live exports needed in 2017 – ICSA

‘We have to question our strategy.’

Sligo News File Online

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said that live exporters are currently seeking cattle for a boat to Libya. While welcoming the news, he stressed, however, that “many more boats will be required to deal with the substantial increase in cattle forecast for 2017.”

He said:

“The Libyans are looking for bulls, with a wide range of weights,

Edmond Phelan, chairman, ICSA National Beef Committee.
Edmond Phelan, chairman, ICSA National Beef Committee.

ranging from 400-700kg liveweight. While they have a preference for beef breeds, they are also looking at Friesian cattle. A good market for heavier bulls is very desirable. However, according to Bord Bia forecasts at the Beef Roundtable there is potentially an extra 200,000 cattle for slaughter in 2017 compared to 2015.

“We are sleepwalking into trouble with these figures unless we get a huge upturn in live shipping. We can see the disastrous effect an extra 65,000 cattle throughput this year has had, this is going to be multiplied by three next year. Already we have seen how the average weekly kill this back-end has been some 4,000 cattle a week higher than the equivalent weekly kill in 2015. To put it in context, we would need a boat, carrying 4,000 head, going out every single week in 2017 to bring markets back into balance.

“We have to question what our strategy is to deal with all the extra dairy calves, mostly Holstein but with increasing Jersey and Kiwi Cross genetics. Either we export them as veal or find some other way of getting out of them but there is no doubt that they are a disaster for the livestock trade and for the viability of beef farming in this country.”