The latest live export figures for the week ending 11 June 2022 shows the number of cattle exported live exceeding the 200,000 head mark. The figure of 201,212 head is running 23,914 head, or 13.5%, above the corresponding period in 2021.

There have been very significant changes in the profile of animals exported in 2022 and also in live export destinations. The greatest numerical difference is recorded in calf exports of some 158,301 head running 29,358 head higher.

The destination of calf exports has also changed, with a sharp increase in live exports to the Netherlands. Numbers exported there have more than doubled, rising by 48,441 to reach 93,834 head.

Exports to Spain of 51,486 head are running 6,709 head lower while exports to Italy of 18,095 head are running 3,104 head lower, with the latter reduction likely to be influenced partly from lower calf exports.

Likewise, live exports to France of just 64 head is running 2,463 head lower and this is due to calf exports dwindling in 2022, while live exports of 572 head to Belgium have fallen by 1,400 head for similar reasons.

The greatest change when viewing live exports in value terms has resulted from the number of cattle exported live to Northern Ireland falling by 45% or from 37,910 head in 2021 to 20,862 head year-to-date in 2022.

The drop in export volumes has stemmed primarily from higher beef prices in Irish factories and marts reducing the competitiveness of buyers from Northern Ireland.