Native beef breeds drive 2015 calf birth increase

Registered calf births increased in 2015, with growth coming predominantly from native-sired beef cattle.

According to British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data analysed by AHDB Beef and Lamb, registered calf births hit 2.69 million in 2015 – up 3% from 2.61 million the previous year.

Of these, 1.77 million (66.1%) were registered as non-dairy animals, up 48,006 (2.8%) on numbers recorded in 2014. Meanwhile, the number of registered dairy-bred calves increased by 3.2% from 883,504 in 2014 to 912,114 in 2015.

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“The increase in beef-bred registrations also continued from the previous year, up nearly 50,000 head of the higher numbers in 2014. This follows another improvement in cow productivity as a result of a couple of years of good seasonal conditions,” says Debbie Butcher, senior analyst at AHDB Beef and Lamb.

While Limousin genetics remain the most dominant for beef-sired breed – accounting for 27% of all beef registrations – growth came predominantly from native beef types, she says.

“Aberdeen Angus registrations were up 3%, reflecting the breed’s steady increase in prevalence over the past few years, up from 14% of all beef-sired registration in 2011 to 17% in 2015. Hereford calf registrations were also up over 13% on the years.”

“The increasing influence of Angus and native-bred beef is the result of several production factors combined with consumer demand.”

Registrations of continental-bred calves, such as British Blue, Charolais, Simmental and Blonde d’Aquitaine, were meanwhile “rather more variable,” she adds.