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    Breed Data Highlights National Herd Changes
20/11/07

The number of beef-sired calves born annually in England has declined by almost 70,000 over the past four years, reveals the latest English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) analyses of British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) registrations.

Within the beef sector Limousins continue
to dominate the breeding.
© www.limousin.co.uk

limousin calves

BCMS figures for 2006 reveal that total (beef and dairy) calves born have declined by almost 175,000 over the last four years. Dairy-bred calves are responsible for almost two thirds of this decline, not surprisingly perhaps given the continued consolidation of the dairy herd. The fact that 54% of animals registered from dairy sires were female against an average 50% across all breeds further suggests a significant number of dairy-bred male calves were disposed of on-farm. Although, resumption of live cattle exports in May 2006 opened a viable alternative market for these animals.

The noticeably smaller annual decline in beef calf registrations since 2002 means a clear increase in the proportion of beef-sired calves joining the national herd – from 65% in 2002 to 67% in 2006. This changing balance should make a positive contribution to both carcase quality and weights at slaughter.

Within the beef sector Limousins continue to dominate the breeding, being responsible for nearly a quarter of all and over two thirds of beef-sired calves registrations in 2006 and showing a clear increase in popularity since 2002. Slipping back significantly but holding onto second place in the popularity stakes are Charolais sires (9% of total registrations), while Simmentals (8%) also slip, allowing British Blues (8%) to narrowly take their place as the third most popular beef breed.

Interestingly, Aberdeen Angus are showing by far the most significant increase in annual births – up more than 21,000 on 2002 to an 8% share of total registrations – reflecting an improvement in breed fortunes almost certainly arising from the development of breed-specific branded and other quality beef marketing initiatives.

Herefords are the only other major breed showing an increase in popularity, cementing their sixth place in the beef breed rankings with a 5% market share. Blonde d’Aquitaines fall back to 3% while the level of registrations from the vast range of other beef breeds declines almost as much as that of the Charolais.

Calves Born

2002 Births

2006 Births

Change

 

Number

% of Total

Number

% of Total

Limousin

380,188

20%

390,339

23%

+10,151

Charolais

186,630

10%

147,219

9%

-39,411

Simmental

161,020

9%

135,053

8%

-25,967

British Blue

126,128

7%

139,256

8%

+13,128

Aberdeen Angus

111,048

6%

132,719

8%

+21,671

Hereford

77,385

4%

78,904

5%

+1,519

Blonde d’Aquitaine

73,678

4%

62,631

3%

-11,047

Other beef breeds

95,651

4%

56,988

3%

-38,663

Total Beef-sired

1,211,728

65%

1,143,109

67%

-68,619

Total Dairy-sired

663,114

35%

556,992

33%

-106,122

Overall Total

1,874,842

 

1,700,101

 

-174,741

link Beef Producers Pledge Allegiance to Charolais
link Dumfriesshire and Argyllshire Venues for Cattle Outwintering Systems Events
link Selective Bidding for British Blues at Carlisle

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