There was a 10% increase in beef sired calf registrations in Northern Ireland in September 2015 from September 2014 levels, the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has said.
Beef sired calf registrations in the North during September 2015 totalled 20,369 head, up from the 18,433 beef sired calves registered in September 2014.
Beef sired calf registrations in the North for 2015 to date have totalled 284,576 head, which the LMC stated is an 8% increase (+21,106 head) on the corresponding period in 2014 when 263,470 beef sired calves were registered.
This is the highest level of beef sired calf registrations for the year to date recorded since 2012, according to the LMC.
September was the seventh month during 2015 to date in which beef sired calf registrations were higher than the corresponding month in 2014.
The LMC attributes the increase in registrations to an increase in both suckler and dairy cow numbers on Northern Ireland farms, as recorded in the June Agricultural census.
During the first nine months of 2015 72,822 beef sired calves were registered to dairy dams, LMC figures show, and these accounted for 25.7% of all beef sired calves in Northern Ireland during this period.
In the corresponding period in 2014 64,760 beef sired calves were registered to dairy dams and these accounted for 24.6% of total beef sired calf registrations.
Beef cattle on Northern Ireland farms
The increase in the number of beef sired calf registrations in the North has led to a notable increase in the number of young beef sired cattle on Northern farms, according to the LMC.
At the end of September 2015 there were 151,766 cattle on Northern Irish farms aged 0-6 months. This was a 5% increase on the 144,476 beef sired cattle in this age category at the end of September 2014, it stated.
The LMC said that the number of beef sired cattle on farms in the North aged 6-12 months in September 2015 was 160,889 head, a 13% increase on year-earlier levels while the number of cattle aged 12-18 months totalled 161,868 head, 6.6% higher than year-earlier levels.
Dairy calf registrations
Dairy sired calf registration in Northern Ireland during September 2015 totalled 16,793 head, LMC figures show, a 2.3% reduction from the 17,194 head registered in September 2014.
Dairy sired calf registrations for 2015 to date have totalled 132,833 head, a 2.9% increase on the corresponding period in 2014 when 129,141 dairy sired calves were registered, according to the LMC.
Male calves accounted for 47% of dairy sired calves during the first nine months of 2015, unchanged from year-earlier levels.
Typically a proportion of these dairy origin calves are exported to Europe for further production, according to the LMC.