Beef-sired calf registrations in Northern Ireland totalled 32,452 head during July 2014 compared to 29,566 registrations in July 2013. This increase by 2,886 head accounts for a 10% increase between the two periods according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It says this brings beef sired calf registrations for 2014 to date to 222,241. The effects of poor grass growth and reduced cow fertility in spring 2013 are likely to be key drivers behind the increase in later born calves this year.

In the corresponding period in 2013, beef sired calf registrations totalled 226,155 head, representing a 1.7% decline in registrations year on year. Despite this decline the level of calf registrations is much more promising than the first third of 2014 when registrations were 8.6% behind year earlier levels. However with reduced numbers of suckler cows on Northern Ireland farms beef sired calf registrations during 2014 to date are running 9.6% behind 2012 levels.

Dairy sired male calves are also an important source of calves for beef production with 47,849 registered in Northern Ireland during 2014 to date. This is 175 (3.5%) fewer registrations than the corresponding period in 2013 and 4,942 (9.4%) less than the same period in 2012.

The number of calves being exported out of Northern Ireland for further production has remained fairly steady with 13,176 calves exported during 2014 to date. These will have been almost exclusively dairy sired bull calves with 80% of the calves exported during 2014 to date destined for Spain and a further 19% destined for Italy. In the corresponding period in 2013, 84% of the calves exported were destined for Spain while 10% were destined for Italy.