Livestock rustling has increased by nearly 30 per cent over the last year because of the rising price of meat.
Farmers across the UK reported more than 90,000 sheep, cattle and pigs stolen over the past 12 months.
The figure is up from around 70,000 thefts reported between 2012 and 2013.
Experts say the increase is due to the increasing price of meat as well as improved security on farm vehicles making livestock the easiest pickings.
Insurers NFU Mutual, who recorded the findings, said: "We see a close correlation between the price of commodities and the level of theft.
"In recent years we have seen thefts of metal rocket when scrap prices have been high, thefts of diesel from farm increases in line with oil price increases.
"Now the same thing appears to be happening with livestock.
"Because of the sharp rise, our 300 local offices are working closely with farmers and the police to tackle the problem.
"We're also calling for rural dwellers to keep an eye on sheep in fields near their homes and report and suspicious activity to local farmers or the police.
"Rustling is one of the world's oldest crimes. Since the first cavemen kept goats, rustling has been a feature of farming.
"However, the worrying trend today is that instead of small numbers of animals being taken in one attack, we are increasingly seeing very large numbers of sheep being stolen."
After a decade of livestock claims being reported at a very low level claims rocketed by a 107 per cent in 2011, increasing by 3.6 per cent in 2012 and 24 per cent in 2013.
British farmers reported 91,562 animals stolen during 2013, costing them an estimated #6.5 million.
Northern Ireland saw the highest rates of livestock theft, with over 33,894 sheep, pigs and cattle reported stolen.
The lowest number of thefts were recorded in the South East, with 790 animals taken, and East Anglia, where 1057 farm animals went missing.
NFU mutual discovered a 24.79 per cent increase in the crime over the 12 month period, with 73,370 thefts recorded in 2012.
The thefts have led to warnings from experts, urging people to consider where they buy their meat from.
The spokesperson for NFU mutual added: "NFU Mutual advises farmers and butchers buying stock to check livestock records and ear tags carefully to make sure they are not buying stolen animals.
"It also advises members of the public to be wary of buying meat from unusual sources because there may be health hazards as well as a risk they could be buying meat from rustled livestock.
"Preventing rustling is not as easy as putting a padlock on a building, or fitting a security system to a tractor, because you can't lock up livestock overnight or fit an immobiliser to them.
"However, there are a number of steps farmers can take to reduce the risk."