Calf registrations are up 2% on the year at 2.61 million head, according to 2014 data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

Two-thirds of calves registered were non-dairy, with beef registrations up 1.8% compared with 2013.

Continental breeds in general have taken another hit on the year, with the number of Blonde, Charolais and Simmental-sired calf registrations all in decline.

See also: Survey shows large fall in Charolais and Hereford suckler cows

Limousin remains the dominant beef breed, accounting for 19% of all registrations, but Limousin-sired calf registrations have slipped by 2.2% on the year.

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Meanwhile, native breeds continue to increase in popularity, with the Aberdeen Angus and Hereford breeds seeing massive increases of 9% and 11.8% respectively.  

David Prothero, secretary of the Hereford Society, said the breed has been steadily increasing in popularity over the previous 10 years, largely as a result of Hereford beef schemes and the docility of the breed.

He added: “There’s no doubt that we have seen a surge in the breed on the back of an increase in demand for Hereford beef.

“Maternal traits are becoming more important now because it is a financial consideration and everyone is looking to improve the means of their enterprise.”

Spring calving beef herds seem to be increasing, with calf registrations for April to May up for the first time since 2011.

Dairy-sired registrations were up just 1.3% overall on the year, with female registrations up 4% but male registrations down 2%.

AHDB/Eblex senior analyst Debbie Butcher said: “The better feed outlook does not appear to have encouraged producers to retain [dairy] animals for finishing.”

Wales

In Wales, beef calf registrations were also up 2% on the year, bringing the total to 227,700 head.

The most popular breed was Limousin, which accounted for 36% of total registrations, followed by Charolais at 19%.

Charlotte Morris, industry information officer with Hybu Cig Cymru, said: “The increase in beef calf registrations in Wales, in line with the trend in the rest of the UK, could be linked to the increase in the Welsh dairy herd in 2014, resulting in a higher number of dairy cows giving birth to beef-sired calves.”

Despite the rise, the supply of Welsh beef for the remainder of 2015 is expected to be tight as a result of a 7% reduction in Welsh beef calf registrations in 2013 compared with the previous year.

“With the supply of cattle remaining tight across the UK, 2015 could hold more positive farmgate prices; however, as always, prices will depend on consumer demand,” Miss Morris added.