There has been a slight drop in the number of farmers participating in the NI beef and lamb farm quality assurance scheme (FQAS).

Figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show that the scheme had 11,815 members at the end of May 2023.

It compares with 11,863 participants at the end of June 2022 and 12,014 members the year before that.

The fall of almost 200 FQAS participants during the past two years equates to a 1.7% decline in overall scheme membership.

The LMC said key reasons for the drop include farmers retiring, keeping less livestock, and switching from direct slaughter in local processors to selling livestock in marts.