Despite a year on year decline in the number of beef calves registered with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), the Beef Shorthorn is increasing its share.
According to data from EBLEX, the industry body for beef and lamb levy-payers in England, the number of calves available for beef registered in the country fell by nearly 83,000 in the year to September, a decline of nearly four per cent which was also reflected in leading continental breed registrations.
However, during the year, 10,368 Beef Shorthorn and Beef Shorthorn cross calves were registered compared with 9,576 in the previous year – a total increase of 792 births and the equivalent of an increase of more than eight per cent year on year.
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.
“As the Beef Shorthorn is not used primarily as a terminal sire, the increased number of beef sired calves reflects the growing recognition of the Beef Shorthorn’s maternal attributes,” said Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society secretary Frank Milnes.
The growth follows the society’s figures for 2007 when it registered its highest number of pedigree calves for four decades – almost matching the number in 1960 before the introduction of continental breeds to the UK – as well as increasing membership.
In 2007, 504 members registered more than 2,000 calves from 302 herds. This compares with a decade ago of approximately 200 members registering 416 calves,
In 1960, five years after the beef and dairy sections of the herdbook were divided, there were 2,204 registrations.
Over the last decade there has been a steady growth in interest in the Beef Shorthorn which, although traditionally recognised for its maternal qualities, is now being regarded as an all-round commercial breed.
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