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Low Levels of Cattle Imports for Further Production

12 December 2018

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - During November 2018, there were 440 male store cattle imported from the Republic of Ireland for further production on Northern Irish farms, which takes the total for the year to date to 2,696 head.

The largest majority of these male cattle will undergo a period of finishing on NI farms before being slaughtered in local plants.

This is a reduction from the 3,248 head imported during the corresponding period in 2017 and represents a 17 per cent reduction year on year.

The level of trade for breeding and production has declined steadily over the last number of years from a record 25,115 male cattle imported during the first 11 months of 2010.

Changes to retailer specifications for prime cattle that have been born, reared and slaughtered in the UK has made marketing beef from mixed origin cattle much more difficult.

It is for this reason that some processors in NI have significant penalties in place for non-UK origin cattle.

The chart below displays monthly imports of male cattle for further production from ROI from January 2016- November 2017.


Monthly imports of male store cattle from ROI for further production on NI beef farms

As indicated in the chart imports of male cattle for further production follow a seasonal pattern with levels of import tending to increase in the autumn months.

While imports of male cattle have been under pressure in 2018 the number of female cattle imported from ROI has increased.

During November 2018 1,441 female cattle were imported taking the total for the year to date to 11,582 head.

This is a 17 per cent increase from the 9,843 female cattle imported during the same period in 2017 and the highest level of import recorded since 2015.

A large proportion of these female cattle imported from ROI are likely to be dairy heifers and thus their mixed origin status is not an issue in the short term.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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