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Strong interest in native-sired cattle continues

AHDB | AHDB Beef and Lamb

2 min read Partner content

A predicted increase in cattle production levels this year and next could mean an increasingly segmented market in terms of price due to high demand for native-sired cattle, according to AHDB analysis of the latest British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data.

BCMS figures indicate that registered calf births in 2015 were up three per cent on the year at 2.69 million head. Given that registrations have been trending up for a couple of years, there are obvious implications for production levels this year and into 2017.

Last year, two thirds of calves were registered as non-dairy animals, broadly the same proportion as the previous year. Dairy-bred female registrations were up three per cent and, in contrast to 2014, dairy-bred male registrations were higher as well, also up three per cent. These animals are traditionally finished on intensive cereal-based systems before 16 months of age, therefore it’s likely that the better feed outlook has encouraged producers to retain male calves for finishing during 2016 and early 2017. The increase in beef-bred registrations also continued from the previous year, up nearly 50,000 head on the higher numbers of 2014. This follows another improvement in cow productivity as a result of a couple of years of good seasonal conditions.

While Limousin genetics remain by far the most dominant for beef-sired breeds, accounting for 27 per cent of all beef registrations, their numbers were only marginally up on the year. Growth came predominantly from the native beef types. Aberdeen Angus registrations were up three per cent, reflecting the breed’s steady increase in prevalence over the past few years, up from 14 per cent of all beef-sired registrations in 2011 to 17 per cent in 2015. Hereford calf registrations were also up over 13 per cent on the year. The increasing influence of Angus and native-bred beef is the result of several production factors combined with consumer demand.

Registrations of the leading continental-bred calves were rather more variable. British Blue registrations were up significantly, which is likely to be an indicator of increased usage of beef semen in the dairy herd. Charolais registrations were broadly the same as in 2014, however Simmental and Blonde d’Aquitaine registrations were back almost two and seven per cent respectively.

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