The Department of Agriculture figures sparked concern the animals were being stolen to order.
Robin Swann, a member of Stormont’s Agriculture Committee, said he believed criminal gangs were either illegally processing the meat themselves or ‘disposing of them across the border’ using fake documents.
Concerns have been raised over the amount of illegitimate meat entering the food chain.
The figures show there were 3,070 reports of missing and stolen cattle in 2010/11; 2,807 in 2011/12 and 3,014 in 2012/13.
The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) deputy president Barclay Bell urged police to do more to address the issue and work alongside farmers to bring the crime rate down.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual said the cost of rural crime in Northern Ireland was £3.4m in 2012.
DARD said it was in the process of developing a system for the reporting of missing sheep.
It comes after a Farmers Guardian investigation earlier this year revealed rural crime is still on the rise.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) showed there had been 71 livestock thefts in the six months from October 2012 to March 2013 alone.
(Source – http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/hot-topics/rural-crime/thieves-steal-9000-cattle-in-northern-ireland/58902.article)