NI takes extra beef cattle
Prime cattle exports across the border to Northern Ireland for direct slaughter have recovered strongly since midAugust.
During the six-week period ending October 27, the trade in these cattle totalled 1,441, compared to 590 during the corresponding six-week period in 2017.
But it is still only 3% of the prime cattle throughput in Northern Ireland, compared to more than 10% at its peak earlier this decade.
Beef from cattle born and reared in the south and slaughtered in Northern Ireland have “mixed origin status”, making them generally less valuable to northern processors, because they are ruled out of the high-value retailer and foodservice markets in the UK.
The beef produced however can be used to fulfil orders which do not require beef to be from animals born, reared and slaughtered in the UK. With a wider price differential recently between the two regions, importing southern origin cattle has become more attractive for NI plants to fulfil these orders.
And some northern processors have business interests in both jurisdictions, and are Bord Bia approved, which allows southern beef to be processed in the north and returned to the south where it can be marketed as Bord Bia Quality Assured.
Wider price differential drawing beef cattle north over the border.