The average prime cattle price in Northern Ireland during July 2014 was 312.9p/kg, down 14.9% from July 2013 when the average prime cattle price was 367.6p/kg.

That’s according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in Northern Ireland which also says that the average cow price in Northern Ireland recorded a 17.7% decline over the same period to 231.4p/kg in July 2014.

The LMC also outline that throughput of all classes of cattle was back in the Northern Ireland plants during July 2014. Prime cattle throughput was back 19.5% to 22,277 head during July 2014 with the average carcase weight increasing by 9.1kg (2.8%) to 330.2kg. Meanwhile, cow throughput was back 20.5% from year earlier levels to 6,684 head with the average carcase weight increasing by 10.1kg to 311.1kg.

It says imports of cattle for direct slaughter during July 2014 were similar to year earlier levels at 3,318 head. However, the LMC outlines that while the overall number of cattle imported was similar to the previous year the number of ROI origin cattle imported was back 22% year on year while the number of GB origin cattle increased from 105 head in July 2013 to 849 head in July 2014.

The number of cattle on Northern Ireland farms for beef production in July 2014 totalled 436,885 head (beef- and dairy-sired male cattle aged 12-30 months). The LMC says this is a 3.2% reduction from the 451,380 head on Northern Ireland farms in July 2013 with the number of beef sired cattle back 2.7% to 397,210 head and the number of dairy sired male cattle back by 8.3% to 39,675 head. It says these reductions in the number of beef cattle on the ground have been driven by a reduction in imports for further production and a drop in the number of domestic calf births.

The LMC is also keen to highlight that the value of the euro against sterling also recorded a decline year on year last month. In July 2013 €1 was worth £0.86 and in July 2014 €1 was worth £0.79. This accounts for an 8% decline year on year. It says while the majority of Northern Ireland beef is consumed within the UK the weakening euro against sterling makes Northern Ireland and UK produce less competitive on the EU and global market.