Irish calves are in high demand across Europe this spring with a total of just less than 32,000 calves exported in the first nine weeks of 2022.

The number of Irish calves sold to European countries so far this year has increased from figures in 2021 and 2020.

The strong performance so far this year has seen over 10,000 calves exported compared to the same period in 2020.

Total calf exports in the first nine weeks of 2022:

The country 2020 2021 2022
Netherlands 11,687 8,240 16,841
Spain 6,714 12,539 12,168
North Ireland 650 2,861 813
Italy 650 2,193 809
Belgium 359 279 572
Poland 598 589 557
Other 564 302 2
Total 21,222 27,003 31,762
Source: Bord Bia

As the data above indicates, the Netherlands is currently taking the largest volume of Irish calves with over 16,400 so far this year.

Spain is the country that takes the second largest volume of calves with 12,186 head. This figure is down slightly from the 12,539 calves sent to Spain in the same period last year.

Finally, Northern Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Poland are also taking smaller volumes of Irish calves this year, ranging from 500 to 800 calves sold to these destinations so far.

Calf trade

Calf ring prices came under some additional pressure this week. Trade in colored and Friesian calves has declined slightly in many markets across the country.

With some crossings to Cherbourg canceled from March 10-12, this is likely one of the factors in the drop in prices.

A market manager suggested that many cattle producers are more cautious about buying additional inventory this year, in light of soaring input costs, and noted this as a potential factor in lower prices. cows.

Although prices have dipped slightly, demand from Europe remains firm for calves and should continue over the next few weeks.