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Angus the most dominant sire breed in Northern Ireland

Semen from 45 of some of the “most highly sought-after” AI Angus bulls will come under the hammer in Angus Stars of the Future’s online timed auction in aid of charity this weekend.

Aberdeen Angus continues to be the dominant sire used across both dairy and suckler herds in Northern Ireland, calf registration figures show.

In its latest release, the LMC – Livestock and Meat Commission – has reviewed calf registrations, which stood at 46,830 beef-sired calves on NI farms during April, which represents an 8.1% decline from April 2022 levels when 50,978 beef-sired calves were registered.

Sire selection used on NI farms continues to be “a long-term shift”, the body noted, and, in recent years, there has been an overall decline in the proportion of calf registrations to the major continental breeds in NI.

Angus has accounted for 30.9% of beef-sired calf registrations in Northern Ireland during 2023 to date, figures from APHIS/DAERA shows, along with the following:

  • Charolais – 18.1%;
  • Limousin – 20.6%;
  • Belgian Blue – 9.2%;
  • Hereford – 7.3%;
  • Simmental – 5.3%;
  • Other beef breeds – 8.6%.

While calf registrations during the four weeks of April 2023 are behind levels of the corresponding month last year, there have been 139,048 beef calves registered on farms in Northern Ireland.

This is up 2,416 head or the tune of 1.8% from the 136,632 head registered in NI during the same four-month period last year.

Meanwhile, the body notes, calf registrations this year are 569 head higher than the 138,479 beef calves registered in the corresponding window in 2021.

More breeding females

A spokesperson for the LMC remarked:

“This increase in calf registrations can be explained by more breeding females on NI farms this spring, according to the June 2022 DAERA Agricultural census, which reported a combined increase of 5,739  more cows and heifers on NI farms.

Meanwhile, the origin of calves has recorded a change from last year, with 53.5% of all beef calves registered in Northern Ireland during 2023 to date from the suckler herd, while the remaining 46.5% were offspring of dairy dams.

This compares to 58.2% of beef calves being from the suckler herd and 41.8% from the dairy herd during the first four months of 2022.

From January to April 2023, Limousin registrations stood at 28,619 head, and 25,128 Charolais calves were registered in NI.

These made up 20.6% and 18.1% of overall beef-sired calf registrations, respectively, down slightly from 22.5% and 18.9% in the corresponding period in 2022.

Aberdeen Angus

There were 11,815 AA calves registered during April  this  year,  bringing  Aberdeen  Angus  calf registrations to the close of April this year to total 42,968 head, representing 31% of all beef calf registrations in the region.

This was an increase from 39,617 AA registrations recorded during the corresponding period in 2022, when they made up 29% of all beef-sired calf registrations.

Moreover, 2023 figures rose by 3,589 head from 2021 when 39,379 AA calf registrations were recorded and accounted for 28.4% of total calf registrations in NI during the first four months of the year.

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