A weaker Sterling and steady Northern Irish supplies have seen Irish cattle exports to the North decline by 72%, figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.

During the six-week period ending September 10, just over 700 Irish prime cattle were exported for slaughter in the North, down from 2,488 head in the corresponding time in 2015.

According to the LMC, a decline in the value of Sterling against euro has made finished cattle in the Republic more expensive for local processors when compared to previous years and as a result the cross-border trade has declined.

During the week ending September 12, the price difference between a 350kg R3 Irish and Northern Irish steer stood at £152 (€178), while during the week ending September 10 it stood at £97 (€113).

The LMC also says that the limited marketability of Irish beef in the UK has contributed to the fall in exports, as major retail customers in the North will only purchase beef from animals that have been born, reared and finished on UK farms.

The relatively steady supply of prime cattle from Northern Irish farms has also been blamed for the fall in the number of cattle crossing the border.

Irish store cattle exports to Northern Ireland fall

Figures from the LMC also show that exports of Irish store cattle for further feeding in the North have also declined.

In 2016 almost 1,650 male store cattle crossed the border for further feeding on Northern Irish farms, this is a drop of 65% compared to the 4,734 head exported during the corresponding period last year.

The number of store cattle movements will also have been impacted by the decline in the value of Sterling against the euro.

While notable deductions at the point of slaughter have also made made Irish cattle less attractive to northern buyers for further feeding.