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Latest Breed Data Reveal Beef Herd Changes
10/11/08

The number of calves available for beef registered in the country fell by nearly 83,000 in the year to September, reveals the latest analysis of British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data by EBLEX Ltd, the industry body for beef and lamb levy-payers in England.

© www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk

beef cattle

The BCMS figures show a total of 2.63 million calves registered in Great Britain between September 2007 and August 2008. Discounting some 421,000 dairy heifer registrations leaves just under 2.21 million calves destined for the beef industry. This compares with 2.29 million the year previously – a year-on-year decline of nearly 4%.

Underlining the major swing to dairy breeding within the national dairy herd in the past two seasons, dairy heifer registrations increased by over 8,000 (2%) in the year despite declining cow numbers. At the same time, however, the number of purebred dairy bull calves registered declined by some 36,000 (10%). Altogether, the figures show a discrepancy of around 100,000 between purebred dairy heifer and bull registrations – almost double the 54,000 discrepancy of the previous year. This confirms the tragic annual increase in dairy bull calf disposals on-farm shortly after birth.

As well as noticeably fewer dairy-bred calves available for rearing, the continued decline in the national beef breeding herd has meant just under 47,000 fewer beef-bred calves being born in the past year.

Limousins continue to dominate the beef breeding industry, being responsible for nearly a quarter of all calves registered in 2007/8, with Charolais in second place at 11% and Aberdeen Angus in third at 9% ahead of Simmentals (8%), Belgian Blues (7%), Herefords (4%) and Blonde d’Aquitaines (2%)

Aberdeen Angus was the only breed to show a significant increase in births during the year, with the number of Belgian Blue registrations also increasing marginally. All the other main beef breeds showed a decline in births – Blondes and Charolais experiencing the greatest relative falls (7% and 5% respectively).

Breed/Type Year to September 2007 Year to September 2008 Change
  Number % of Total Number % of Total
Limousin 649,827 24% 623,490 24% - 26,337   (- 4%)
Charolais 312,063 11% 295,385 11% - 16,678   (- 5%)
Aberdeen Angus 223,806 8% 230,192 9%     6,386   (+3%)
Simmental 209,708 8% 200,372 8% -   9,336   (- 4%)
Belgian Blue 184,768 7% 185,482 7%        714   (  0%)
Hereford 95,547 4% 93,976 4% -   1,571   (- 2%)
Blonde d’Aquitaine 71,494 3% 66,442 2% -   5,052   (- 7%)
Other beef breeds 185,941 7% 191,169 7%     5,228   (+3%)
Total Beef-sired 1,933,154 72% 1,886,508 72% - 46,646   (- 2%)
Total Dairy-sired 770,442 28% 742,900 28% - 27,542   (- 4%)
Beef Industry Total * 2,291,378 85% 2,208,747 84% - 82,631   (- 4%)
Overall Total 2,703,596   2,629,408   - 74,188   (- 3%)

* Total births excluding purebred dairy heifers

link Beef Omens Good and More Breeding Cattle Needed
link Excessive Modulation Deductions Will Harm Food Production
link UK Slaughter Cattle Prices Fall Amid Slow-Down Fears

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EBLEX