The 2015 end of year figures from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) show that the number of Limousin sired cattle increased on the year by 2299 to a total of 486,680 to equate to a leading market share of 28% of the beef-sired cattle in the UK.
This is the twentieth consecutive year that the breed has led the rankings and since the figures first became available through BCMS in 1996. Positively for the industry the BCMS figures show that 1,755,357 beef sired calves were registered in the year which is up 24,580 on 2014.
Of the three leading beef breeds Limousin was the only one to increase its numbers on the year. Aberdeen Angus remains the leading native beef breed, and second overall with 292,326 registrations representing a slight drop of 2329 on the year for a 17% total market share. The Charolais breed remains in third place having registered 213,793, down marginally by 923 and representing a 12% market share.
British Blue registrations enjoyed a lift of 6401 to 202,266 representing an 11% market share and consolidating their fourth place position. Simmental registrations came in at 160,256, slightly down by 2681 and giving them a 9% market share.
Breaking the figures down Wales is again the home country where Limousin enjoys the largest market share with 34% of the 82,290 (+411) calves registered being sired by Limousin bulls. Limousin also has the largest market share in both England and Scotland with 28% & 26% respectively.
Commenting on the figures, British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) chief executive Iain Kerr said: “To increase numbers on the year I think shows the confidence beef producers have in the performance of Limousin cattle to produce beef as efficiently as possible and to the consistent carcase weights and specification required by retailers and processors.
“To increase numbers on the year I think shows the confidence beef producers have in the performance of Limousin cattle to produce beef as efficiently as possible and to the consistent carcase weights and specification required by retailers and processors.”
“The forward industry is looking for store cattle that will ultimately leave a 350-380kg carcase, which have been produced through top food conversion and give a high meat yield and killing out percentage. These are attributes of the Limousin that will continue to drive breed demand and deliver profitability in the commercial sector.”
In 2015 in an industry first, the BLCS made available Genomic Breeding Values for a range of new Carcase Traits. This, the society claims, will give producers of Limousin-bred cattle unique and very precise tools to select and breed cattle with superior early-finishing-carcases that will be rewarded in a pricing structure changing to favour animals that truly perform for the higher value cuts.
Additionally Limousin is the main breed in the DEFRA funded Feed Efficiency project which was also initiated in 2015.
Commenting further Iain Kerr said: “Feed remains the main cost with beef production in the UK and this is a hugely important area of work to take aim at and one that is so relevant to farmer producers in terms of profitability.
“The combination of this work will ensure that, in a very short space of time, commercial producers will be able to access the very best beef production genetics with the output and flexibility to meet ever-shifting markets.”
2016 marks the 45th anniversary since Limousin cattle were first imported into the United Kingdom and the British Limousin Cattle Society was established.