How have breeds changed among calf registrations so far in 2021?

Thursday, 26 August 2021

We recently did some analysis on the number of calves registered in Great Britain during the first half of 2021. This showed that registrations of beef calves (including suckler and dairy bred, accounting for suckler replacements) rose by 0.2% year-on-year to 1.08 million head. In this article, we’ll explore these figures in more detail, specifically looking at changes in the different breeds of calves registered.

So far in 2021, the trend of declining registrations of continental breeds and increasing registrations of native breeds has largely continued. Registrations of Limousin X for example, the most common breed in GB, fell by 5% to just under 250,000 head in the first six months of the year. Numbers of Aberdeen Angus X* calves registered increased by 6% to 235,000 head.

The ten most common breeds in GB have remained relatively unchanged for the past decade, consistently making up 82-83% of all registrations during that time. There has however been some movement within the group over recent years. Continental breeds like Limousin, Charolais and Simmental have shown continued steady declines, while numbers of native breeds like Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Beef Shorthorn have grown. British Blue X have also grown in number.

Looking at births to dairy dams specifically, and the story is quite similar. Limousin X, Aberdeen Angus X and Simmental X have been the three most common breeds registered during the last decade, although their share has slipped a little. British Blue X registrations have increased notably over this time, going from 1% of dairy registrations in 2011 to 7% in 2021.

*X denotes a calf that is registered as a cross breed. Typically, the breed of the sire would be used to determine the breed of the calf on its passport. A calf registered as HEX would therefore have a Hereford sire, but a dam of a different breed. Many of the beef crosses at the top of the table would be born to dairy dams.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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