The number of imported Irish calves rose by almost 9% to 91,236 calves through the third week of May. This was reported by the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland. Like last year, this year’s import season starts in the second week of February.
In the following five weeks, a total of over 31,000 calves entered the Netherlands. This number was 33% higher than in the same period last year. The lead will be relinquished in the course of the import season. Imports of German calves are down 4% this year to 193,572 animals. This backlog was mainly accumulated in January. From this year, newborn calves may not be transported until they are at least one month old.
This saved half as many calves from Germany in January compared to last year. Countries such as Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are losing considerable ground in the sale of calves to the Netherlands. The numbers of imported animals from those countries was already small, but now almost completely fall against the total number. Total imports are about 3% lower than in 2002.
Ireland has more calves this year than last year. According to the Irish Department of Agriculture, over 304,000 calves will be exported this year through the first week of May. At 78%, this is the largest group of cattle exported from Ireland. The ministry also reports that so far, the Netherlands is the main market with almost 46% market share.
Spain (23%) and Italy (10%) follow our country at a distance. Exports to Poland are rising fastest. This year, 16,180 animals were shipped to Poland. That is an increase of almost 500%. Ireland also experienced this year that the transport of calves does not always run smoothly. Bad weather early this year prevented ships from making the crossing to mainland Europe. In March, a major reception centre in France was closed for a week. Abuses had been filmed here.