July 5, 2011


Irish beef exports to France decrease



Drought in northern France has been compelling beef farmers to get rid of their stock early and this has resulted in an 18% decrease in Irish beef exports to that country, Bord Bia said.


In its weekly bulletin, the food board said France was the second most important market for Irish beef exports, after the UK.


While the French market accounted for over 54,000 tonnes in 2010, exports for January-April this year have been 18% lower, according to Central Statistics Office data.


"This decline is a consequence of abundant French supplies as well as lower cattle supplies here in Ireland. While rain in recent weeks may have brought some recovery, feed issues in France may continue to cause higher cattle supplies in the coming months," said the report.


It said the drought in France, had resulted in higher cattle disposals, as farmers looked to market their animals sooner on account of feed scarcity.


"Recent statistics from Agreste reveal that production in France, the EU's largest beef producer, has risen by 7.7% for the first four months of the year, to almost 465,000 tonnes.


It said another consequence of the feed scarcity was that live cattle exports also increased by 7.5% during the same period. This reflected higher numbers of young animals sold with reduced demand from domestic buyers.


Bord Bia also reported consumption of beef by French consumers had been disappointing compared with previous years.


Retail figures showed a decline of 4.1% in beef volumes sold up to mid-May compared with the corresponding period last year, although average prices were slightly higher.


French beef exports grew by 24% in the January to April period. Principal markets were Italy and Greece, followed by Germany and Turkey. 

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