After more than a decade of export restrictions, beef cows have left Scotland for slaughter in the Republic of Ireland, in a deal secured by Aberdeen and Northern Marts.
It took six weeks to negotiate with the Scottish executive environment and rural affairs department (Seerad), the department of food and rural affairs (Defra), the state veterinary service and the Republic of Ireland's department for agriculture and rural development (Dard).
Strict disease control regulations mean all animals for export must come from herds that have been free from dieases such as TB and Brucellosis for at least six months. Traceability requirements from both sides of the Irish Sea also have to be fulfilled as well as stringent European, EU, UK and Irish legislation on cattle for slaughter.
Brian Pack, chief executive of Aberdeen and Northern Marts Group Ltd said: "The costs incurred during the past six weeks should be well spent for the industry in that we expect to see a strengthening of cast cow prices in the future in line with those prevailing in the Republic of Ireland."
John Gregor, general manager of Aberdeen and Northern Marts said it had been a frustrating time waiting for the different agencies involved to sort out small problems that took a long time. "In the end it was very much a team effort between Dublin, London and Edinburgh and we believe that this paves the way for a regular trade which will be particularly important as farrow cow numbers rise in the autumn as calves are weaned," he said.