A record number of weanlings and store male cattle went to the North between July and August new figures show.
Between July and September this year 2,716 weanling and store male cattle were imported into Northern Ireland from the Republic for further production on local farms.
According to figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in Northern Ireland, this was a notable increase from 443 head in the same three month period in 2019 and the highest recorded level of import during this quarter since 2013.
Its figures also show that in the six weeks up to October 18 there was an increase in the number of prime cattle being imported for direct slaughter from the Republic, which it says helped supplement prime cattle throughput in Northern plants.
During the six weeks ending October 18 there were 2,219 prime cattle imported from the Republic, which accounted for 5.3pc of total throughput.
In the same period last year, its figures show that 1,733 prime cattle were imported from the Republic for direct slaughter and these accounted for 3.8pc of total throughput in local plants.
In recent months there has also beenan increase in the number of cattle being imported for further production on local farms which has helped to further supplement supplies of prime cattle for slaughter.
At the start of October 2020 there were 3,671 male cattle on Northern farms between 12-30 months with most of these intended for beef production. This is more than double the 1,591 imported male cattle in this age range in October 2019.
While its prime cattle kill numbers held steady in recent weeks, just over the 7,000 mark, it says plants reported firm supplies of cattle but the level of throughput has been operating behind this time last year.