The number of Northern Irish cull cows crossing the border for slaughter in the Republic is up 11% on 2015 levels, figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.

So far this year, just over 4,100 Northern Irish cull cows have been imported into Ireland for slaughter. This is an increase of 405 head on the same time last year.

The number of cows imported from the north also increased in April, due to the price differential in cow prices either side of the border.

In April, 1,739 cows were exported from Northern Ireland to the Republic for direct slaughter, jumping by 982 head on the corresponding period in 2015, the LMC shows.

Why have imports of cull cows increased?

According to the LMC, the weaker Sterling has resulted in an increased interest in Northern Irish cows from procurement managers in the south.

It shows that the stronger euro has resulted the Irish deadweight cow prices increasing in Sterling terms, widening the price difference between Irish and Northern Irish cows.

The wider price difference has been a key factor behind the increased number of cows crossing the border for slaughter in the south, the LMC reports.

LMC figures also show that the average O3 cow price in the Republic last week was the equivalent of 245.3p/kg, 14p/kg higher than the 231.3p/kg paid in North for O3 grade cows.

And, the Irish P3 cow price last week was the equivalent of 238.7p/kg while the P3 cow price in the North was 213.3p/kg. This is a price difference of 25.4p/kg

Exports of cows from NI to Republic of Ireland (January 2014 – April 2016)

Northern Irish cow exports

Source: Livestock and Meat Commission