LMC Report: Calf Birth Registrations Stabilise

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Figures for calf birth registrations show that calf production has stabilised in Northern Ireland (NI) over the first half of the year, compared to the previous year, with Limousin remaining the most common terminal sire breed.
calendar icon 3 August 2010
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Recent years have been characterised by a steady decline in beef-sired calf registrations in NI, with a substantial drop in the number of Limousin and Charolais sired births. By contrast, over recent years there has been an increase in the number of calves sired by dairy bulls. However, data for the first half of 2010 shows a change in this trend, with beef-sired calf births consistent with 2009 levels and calf production from dairy bulls reduced slightly in the first half of 2010, compared with the same period last year.

The beef industry will welcome any stemming of the decline in beef-sired calf registrations. The stabilisation may reflect improved confidence in the industry early last year and this may have prompted more producers to put cows back into calf or put heifers to the bull. Whether the stabilisation in calf numbers is maintained into 2011 will depend somewhat on confidence this year, which is bound to be dented by lower finished prices - although store prices remain resilient.

Stabilisation of beef-sired calf registrations will certainly be welcomed by the processing sector where reduced throughput of steers / heifers has been a concern over recent years. However, this year’s births will have little impact on steer / heifer slaughter numbers in 2011. It is likely that throughput of NI born cattle will be reduced next year due to the decline in birth registrations in 2008/09.

There has been a significant uplift in the number of young bulls slaughtered in the first half of 2010, and one reason for this has been the gradual increase in the number of Holstein / Friesian calf births since 2007. However, as has been noted on several occasions in the Bulletin, the increase in the young bull kill in 2010 has been driven to a large extent by the cessation of dairy-calf exports to the continent in 2008, which led to a substantial increase in the number being reared for domestic slaughter.

Over the first six months of the year, Limousin remained the most popular beef sire in NI, accounting for nearly a quarter of all calf births. Charolais-sired calves accounted for a fifth of calf births, while Angus numbers have remained robust at 11 per cent of all births. Holstein and Friesian calves together accounted for 27 per cent of all calf-birth registrations from January to June 2010.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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