The number of Northern Irish lambs crossing the border for direct slaughter in the Republic dropped in August, recent figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.

According to the LMC, just over 19,800 Northern Irish lambs were imported into the south during the first three weeks of August.

This is a drop of 3.5% or 708 head compared to the corresponding time in 2015.

The fall in the number of spring lambs crossing the border for direct slaughter coincided with one of the busiest weeks of lamb slaughterings in Northern Ireland.

Figures from the LMC show that the number of lambs slaughtered in Northern Irish plants during the week ending August 21 stood at 13,503 head, which is the highest weekly throughput for the year to date.

However, despite the fall in spring lamb exports from Northern Ireland to the Republic during the first three weeks of August, the number of sheep imported from the North in July jumped 56.7% compared to the same time the year before.

Back in July, some 25,944 sheep were exported from the north to southern plants for direct slaughter compared to the 16,554 sheep during July 2015.

The strengthening of euro against Sterling had increased the demand for Northern Ireland lambs from processors in the Republic, the LMC shows.

However, it should be noted that exports to the Republic were subdued last summer due to issues around the labelling of lambs born in the North but killed in the South. These issues have since been resolved.