Exports of British beef have hit 60,000 tonnes in its first year back on international markets, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

The export total, double original estimates for the year, is worth an impressive £100m, the MLC said.

More than 70% of UK exports, about 42,000 tonnes, came from England, with the Netherlands, Ireland, France and Germany the largest customers.

The English Beef and Lamb Executive is set to continue its government-backed promotion of English beef across Europe, which it began 12 months ago with the help of a £5.5m beef recovery grant.

Jeff Rooker, minister for sustainable farming and food, said the MLC’s results show British beef has regained its reputation as being some of the best in the world.

“Our farmers and beef exporters are obviously making the most of opportunities to market their excellent quality product abroad and I look forward to working with them and helping this trend continue,” he said.

John Cross, EBLEX Chairman, said: “The enthusiasm for British beef in foreign markets has been far greater than we first thought and we have been delighted at the response we have received.

“Our return to export markets has helped our farmers at home by keeping prices stable and we will work to ensure sales abroad continue and expand in years to come.”