Exports of sheep from Northern Ireland (NI) to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) for direct slaughter this year continues to lag behind what was seen in previous years.
According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), in the 12 weeks leading up to June 26, total lamb exports to the ROI came to 34,440 head.
This was a decrease of 31% from the same time period last year - when 50,174 lambs were exported for direct slaughter.
Exports in 2021 are also lagging behind 2019 levels, with 2021 witnessing a 24% decline or 10,909 head drop in exports compared to what was seen in 2019 - when 45,349 lambs were exported to the ROI for direct slaughter during the same 12-week period, the LMC added.
For the same 12 week period, NI lamb exports for direct slaughter made up 7% of lamb throughput in the ROI.
This is back over 2% from the same time period last year - when lamb exports made up 9.2% of lamb throughput in plants in the ROI.
Ewe and ram exports for direct slaughter also back
The LMC added that there has been a reduction in the number of ewes and rams being exported to the ROI for direct slaughter for the same 12-week period.
During this period, the number of ewes and rams exported totalled 7,207 - which was a decrease of 31% or a 3,255 head reduction from 2020, and a 26% decline or 2,569 head fewer from the same time period in 2019.