IRELAND - To date this year, relatively steady supplies of cattle have been recorded at export meat plants, with some tightening in supplies reported over the last number of weeks, according to Eoin Kelly, Business Analyst at Bord Bia the Irish Food Board.
However, cattle supplies for the full year are expected to drop on the back of reduced availability of cattle for finishing.
Sheep throughput to date has been relatively tight due to lower hogget carryover.
Pig supplies have increased so far this year, up by almost eight per cent, in response to further recovery in the breeding herd.
Total finished cattle supplies at export meat plants are expected to tighten this year by over 100,000 head on 2014 levels due to a significant drop in calf registrations in 2013 and the strong live export trade that year.
A tighter sheep meat supply is also anticipated for 2015 due to tighter hogget carryover in the early part of the year as a result of higher lamb disposals in 2014.
However, overall supplies will depend on Spring lambing and grazing conditions.
Irish pig meat production is expected to increase by four per cent in 2014 reflecting the recovery in the pig breeding herd and advancement in productivity levels.
The prospects for the meat and livestock sector in 2015 are mixed, with lower cattle and sheep availability expected to help both sectors.
However, the pig meat sector seems set to remain challenging given the absence of the Russian market for exporters and a well-supplied global market.
The value of overall beef exports showed little change at €2.27 billion, despite a rise in output of more than 12 per cent. Increased pig meat volumes, which were partly offset by a drop of around four per cent in average prices, left the value of Irish pig meat exports some two per cent higher in 2014, at an estimated €560 million.
Lower sheep meat export volumes were recorded due to reduced supply coupled with a decline in imports.
The value of Irish sheep meat exports was marginally higher in 2014 at €218 million.TheMeatSite News Desk