The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society has reported yet another record uptake, with registrations up 64% since 2012, reflecting commercial producers’ continuing demand for a modern functional suckler cow.
Those trends are similarly mirrored in the latest BCMS published data. Over the last six years, UK Beef Shorthorn and Beef Shorthorn cross populations have exponentially increased and by a total of 45%, the highest percentage increase of any beef breed, both native and Continental, the society’s president, Sally Horrell reported at its annual general meeting.
Pedigree sales at the society’s established venues – Stirling, Carlisle and Skipton had each attracted new record averages and high clearance rates, she said.
“Beef Shorthorn is continuing to buck the trend of Continental breeds and is quite clearly meeting with suckler producers’ requirements for a cow that demonstrates calving ease, docility and milkiness and is suited to low input, low cost forage based systems,” she said. “Not only is the breed delivering for today’s marketplace, but we are confident that it will be one that is also fit for purpose in future regimes following a green Brexit.
“In addition, thanks to increasing demand from Morrisons for pure and crossbred Beef Shorthorn sired steers, confidence continues in the commercial marketplace resulting in a subsequent valued premium. Since Morrisons launched the Shorthorn Beef brand in 2016, demand was such that within a year the supermarket agreed to double the number of stores to 300 carrying ‘The Best’ Shorthorn range.
“Our agreement with Morrisons as the sole UK supermarket to retail Shorthorn beef highlights the company’s long-standing commitment to the breed, and for the society, is another of our valued relationships.”
Mrs Horrell reported that the society’s type classification scheme continued to be a huge success. Designed to enable members to accelerate breed progress and offer an improved suckler cow, a total of 106 herds had been classified since its launch in 2015.
She added: “I am confident that our membership going forward will continue to focus on capturing that space in the marketplace and continue to breed a functional suckler cow that will lead to greater efficiencies as well as leaving a steer with potential added value.”
l Sally Horrell, of Thorney, Peterborough was re-elected society president. Mrs Horrell together with her husband, Charles, runs the 55 cow Pode Hole herd based at Thorney, Peterborough. Cathryn Williamson, of Kincraig, Invernesshire was re-elected vice-president.