Supplies of finished cattle are currently falling short of processing demand, but industry forecasts point to more animals coming on to the market later this year.
Based on data published by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), the number of cattle on farm at 1 April destined for beef production is 5.9% higher than the corresponding period last year.
This equates to an additional 6,086 animals, or around one week’s prime cattle kill in NI.
However, this figure is 3% lower than 2019 levels, indicating that cattle numbers last year were significantly down following a decline in calf registrations in 2018 and 2019.
For cattle between 18 to 24 months, numbers on farm at 1 April are up 9.6% year on year, or 13,230 head, with a further 8.9% increase in cattle aged 12 to 18 months of age.
While more finished cattle are coming forward later this year, market demand is expected to remain buoyant and may well absorb any additional numbers.
In Britain, industry forecasts predict that prime cattle throughput will fall 5% and will help to offset additional supplies in NI.