First half calf registrations higher, but fewer for beef production

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

During the first six months of 2021, overall calf birth registrations in Great Britain rose by 0.4% compared to the same period a year ago. According to recent data, the British Cattle Movement Service registered 1.57 million calves during the period, 6,500 head more year-on-year.

The number of calves registered that would be available for beef production (dairy male calves and beef calves of both sexes, accounting for suckler replacements) actually fell slightly, by 0.6% to 1.19 million head. This was largely due to fewer registrations of pure dairy male calves, which fell by 8% (9,000 head) compared to the same period a year ago. This follows the longer-term trend in numbers of male dairy cattle.

Beef calf registrations (suckler- and dairy-bred beef calves, accounting for suckler replacements, and excluding pure dairy males) rose by 0.2% year-on-year to 1.08 million head. Looking at breeds, the trend of declining continental registrations and increasing native registrations appears to have largely continued into 2021. For example, Limousin X registrations were 5% (11,800 head) lower year-on-year between Jan-Jun 2021, while Aberdeen Angus X registrations were up 6% (12,900 head). We will look at movements in beef calf breeds in more detail in the coming weeks.

On the dairy side, registrations of dairy female calves during the first six months of 2021 increased by 6% (13,000 head) compared to the same period a year ago. This continues the trend seen over the past year, and is expected to lead to some stabilisation in the decline in milking cow numbers in future. The change in numbers of dairy males and females being registered reflects increasing use of sexed and beef semen among dairy producers.

Calf registrations make up just one element of our Beef Market Outlook, our latest edition released last month.

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Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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