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'Unwelcome Decline' in Scotland's Beef Breeding Herd

19 March 2009

UK - New figures from Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish red meat industry’s promotional and economic development body, show that calf registrations in Scotland fell by two per cent last year to around 586,000.

Beef sired registrations increased year on year in the first quarter of 2008 indicating a marginal move from autumn to spring calving.

Further analysis of the data shows dairy sired calves now account for around 16 per cent of all calves, marginally up on figures for the year before.

There are also signs of an increase in the number of calves from native breeds with Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, Luing and Shorthorn all showing increased calf registrations.

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: Limousin, Charolais, Holstein/Friesian, Aberdeen Angus and Simmental and collectively account for 86.5 per cent of all calf registrations.

Commenting on the figures 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. "

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