Irish Live Cattle Exports To Benelux Increase

IRELAND - 2010 saw further growth to Ireland’s live export to the Benelux market (the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg), building upon the record growth seen in 2009, says Declan Fennell, from Bord Bia.
calendar icon 24 January 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Exports to the region in 2010 totalled 95,000 head, surpassing the 2009 export by 7,800 head or nine per cent. As the graph illustrates, Ireland’s live exports to the Benelux have grown by 26,000 head or 38 per cent over the last five years. The YOY increase in 2010 was mainly driven by exports to Belgium, the majority of these calves destined for the Dutch veal trade.

Although Ireland continued to benefit from the absence of British and French calves, our success owes much to the strong reputation that Irish calves have acquired in the Dutch trade. Ireland is now ranked third against the much larger rivals Germany and Poland as a source of calf imports to the Netherlands last year.

The Dutch veal trade had a reasonable year in terms of turnover, although a quiet summer season and far higher dairy prices than in 2009 meant that margins were tight. The veal sector operated at a loss for much of the summer, although sharply rising prices in autumn helped to recuperate some of the deficit. With the average market price of Grade 1 Friesian bull calf in 2010 in the region of €105, the value of Ireland’s live exports to the Benelux market in 2010 was approximately €10 million.

2010 concluded on a positive note for the Van Drie group as their takeover bid for Alpuro, was finally approved by the competition authority on December 28th. The merger will mean that Van Drie will have 75 per cent market share of veal production in the Netherlands.

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