There has been a general improvement in beef carcase conformation values in the past three months in Northern Ireland, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).
Steers accounted for 56% of throughput during this time, it said. Of these, 20.2% were awarded a U conformation grade. This was 1.3% higher than the 18.9% of steers awarded a U grade in the 2013 period.
The proportion of steer carcases awarded an R grade increased by 1% over the same period to account for 38.9% of the prime cattle kill in the final quarter of last year.
The Commission’s analysis also shows that the proportion of steers sourced from the dairy and suckler herds in Northern Ireland remained relatively unchanged year on year.
In the final quarter of 2014, 35% of the steer kill was sourced from the dairy herd, compared to 36% the year previous
Where heifers are concerned, a similar trend was identified by the LMC, from a carcase confirmation perspective.
During the final quarter of 2014 period 20.7% of price reported heifers achieved a U grade. This was a 4.4% increase from the corresponding period in 2013. The proportion of R grade carcases also increased from 48.5% in the 2013 period to 50% in the final quarter of 2014.
In contrast, the proportion of young bull carcases awarded a U grade declined from 17.9% in the final quarter of 2013 to 14.7% in the 2014 period.
The proportion of young carcases classified as R declined by 8.2% over the same period to account for 20.2% of the kill in the final quarter of 2014.
The LMC is attributing this trend to a marked increase in the proportion of young bulls sourced from the dairy herd. In the 2013 period 62% of the young bull kill in Northern Ireland was sourced from the dairy herd, compared to 50% in the corresponding period in 2013.