Following Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, the meat and livestock sector built on the strong performance of recent years in 2013. A combination of higher output in some categories, most notably beef and sheep meat together with stronger prices for cattle and pigs helped boost the value of trade.
For the year, it is estimated that the value of meat and livestock exports increased by 8% or €245 mill. to reach €3.3 bill. This leaves the sector accounting for a third of food and drink exports.
The value of beef exports increased by almost 10% reflecting a rise of 5% in output and a 4% increase in average prices. As a result, exports were valued at just under €2.1 bill. Despite a drop of around 2% in pig meat production, a rise of almost 6% in pig prices helped to boost the value of Irish pig meat exports by 3% to reach €525 mill.
The competitive market environment for poultry persisted in 2013 although higher export volumes combined with some improvement in prices led to the value of poultry exports rising by 4% to an estimated €230 mill. A rise of 7% in sheep output helped offset lower carcase weights and a marginal drop in prices to leave the value of Irish sheep meat exports over 4% higher at €220 mill.
A jump of a third in cattle exports and a doubling in sheep shipments helped drive a rise of 11% in the value of livestock exports to leave trade valued at an estimated €240 mill.
The prospects for the meat and livestock sector in 2014 remain broadly positive with relatively tight supplies persisting across the EU for most species. While slower consumer demand is likely to continue in some EU markets, the overall trading environment is expected to be broadly positive, helped by strong global prices.
Source: Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board