Scottish calf registration figures released

New figures from promotional body Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) show that calf registrations in Scotland fell by 2% last year to around 586,000.

Results released by QMS also showed that beef-sired registrations increased year-on-year in the first quarter of 2008, indicating a marginal move from autumn to spring calving, with an increase in the number of calves from native breeds and Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, Luing and Shorthorn all showing increased calf registrations.

QMS chairman Donald Biggar said: "The slight drop in calf registrations last year was widely anticipated. However, it's another unwelcome indication of the continuing decline in Scotland's beef breeding herd.

"The improvement in prices that we've seen during the first quarter of the year will, we hope, inject some badly need optimism among beef producers. QMS has a significant role to play in helping shape a more profitable red meat industry and we are putting the final detail in place to a number of projects that we believe can help secure a better future in the long term."

Although down on the year before, the continental breeds continue to make up the vast majority of the Scottish cattle herd.

Looking at the figures as a whole, the most prevalent five breeds in Scotland (including crosses) remain the same as last year, which are Limousin, Charolais, Holstein/Friesian, Aberdeen Angus and Simmental and collectively account for 86.5% of all calf registrations.

Biggar added: "The benefits of a vibrant Scottish red meat industry go far beyond our own businesses. We are a key player in Scotland's burgeoning food and drink industry, with an annual turnover of nearly £1,500m. Not only are our beef, lamb and pork brands household names in the UK, their quality is recognised on a world stage."