Dairy herd influences beef breed numbers in GB

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Along with trends in total GB cattle numbers, data from the British Cattle Movement Service also shows numbers of individual breeds. The most populous breeds will probably come as no surprise. Their numbers are shown in the table below, with the changes since 2015 shown in the chart below that.



Of note is the growth in the number of British Blue/British Blue X animals. The lion’s share of the increase comes from crosses, following the increased use of beef semen in the dairy herd.

This practice is also behind much of the increase in the proportion of more traditional native breeds. For Aberdeen Angus and Hereford for example, some supermarket schemes require only the sire to be a named pedigree bull, and so these lend themselves to beef from the dairy herd. Aberdeen Angus cattle have particularly gained share of beef breed slaughter in recent years. In 2019 these made up 19% of the national kill.

Image of staff member Duncan Wyatt

Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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