Live exports of store and breeding cattle from NI to Britain are up 60% year on year, according to APHIS figures for January to May.
During the five-month period there were 2,241 live cattle shipped to Britain for further feeding and breeding compared to 1,402 during the same period last year.
The surge in exports happened between March and May. During January and February, numbers trailed 2020 levels with just 224 animals shipped compared to 249 last year.
However, during March, April and May, 2,107 animals were shipped live, an 83% increase on the 1,153 from last year.
While the data does not definitively show whether cattle were destined for slaughter or breeding, finished cattle prices in Britain reached record levels above 420p/kg in the spring, so it is understood that most exports were for intensive finishing.
In the sheep sector, live exports of store and breeding sheep in 2021 came to 21,879 for the January to May period, down from 30,528 last year.
Most of that reduction occurred in January and February, when 5,147 animals were taken across the Irish Sea, less than half of the 12,180 exported during the same period last year.
During March, April and May, exports totalled 16,732, down from 18,348 last year.