Directors of the Spanish companies Asoprovac and the Spanish Cattle Feedlots Association were treated to the dinner with the Irish diplomat in Madrid last night. And Irish beef was on the menu, for consumption and discussion.
The dinner with ambassador Cooney follows a seminar for Spanish feedlot owners in Andalusia, co-organised by Asoprovac, the COVAP Coop and Bord Bía. At the seminar, Bord Bía explained that calf registration in Ireland grew by 120,000 head in 2015 and said it expected similar increases this year.
The growing availability of Irish cattle ready for export this year had attracted the interest of buyers in Spain, said Bord Bía.
Many of the additional calves, it said, would be Holstein Friesian males and dairy-beef crosses, which have arisen from an expansion of the Irish dairy herd.
“The drop in the number of animals carried over from last year in Spanish feedlots increases opportunities for Irish live cattle exports,” said Cecilia Ruiz, Bord Bía’s manager for Spain.
“Spain is growing its beef production and demand is expected to focus on good-quality Friesian bull calves, along with beef-crosses coming from the dairy herd.”
In 2014, Spain increased its imports of live cattle by 31% – to around 532,000 head. Last year Irish exports of cattle to Spain almost exceeded 30,000 cows, of which 95% were calves.