BCMS figures indicate rise in calf registrations

Signs are positive for the long-term growth of the beef breeding herd, after data provided by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) indicated an increase in calf registrations in the first three months of 2012.

Eblex, who has analysed the figures, said that this trend became apparent in the last quarter of 2011, and that the growth has continued into the first quarter of this year.

Eblex senior analyst Debbie Butcher said: “During January to March 2012, calf registrations in Great Britain increased by 9%, or 55,000 head, compared with the same period in 2011. The total number of registrations over this time was almost 700,000 head, two-thirds of which were registered as non-dairy animals."

Figures show that the increase was driven by higher numbers of registrations across all categories of cattle, with an 8% rise in female non-dairy calf registrations, suggesting a potential for long-term growth in the beef breeding herd if some heifers are retained.

Butcher said: “Non-dairy male registrations also increased by 8%, indicating that we are likely to see an eventual upturn in male cattle slaughterings.”

Dairy-bred female registrations were up 5% on the year while dairy-bred male registrations were up 16%, which shows a turnaround from the early part of last year.

The most dominant types for non-dairy breeds highlighted by the report were Limousin, which had 140,000 registrations in the first quarter of the year and represents 20% of the total.

Aberdeen Angus and Charolais were the next most popular breeds, making up 11% and 9% of registrations respectively.

The dominant native breed, the figures show, was the Aberdeen Angus, with almost 75,000 registrations in the first quarter of the year.

Butcher said: “The firm beef prices and some easing in feed costs may have encouraged producers to retain these animals for finishing.

“The sustained increase in registrations since October 2011 means a total of 75,000 more calves have been registered than in the equivalent six-month period in 2010/11.”