Of the beef breeds that have been brought into Ireland – the Hereford, Shorthorn & Angus breeds are here by far the longest.
The continental beef breeds first started to be imported in the 1960’s and 70’s. Charolais, Simmental, Limousin & Blonde d’Aquitaine were the breeds that were first brought into Ireland.
The 1980’s & 90’s saw 5 more foreign breeds introduced to these shores – namely Belgian Blue, Piedmontese, Aubrac, Salers & Parthenaise.
90% of all pedigree beef calves come from 5 breeds: Limousin, Charolais, Angus, Hereford & Simmental. The remaining 10% of calves are from 7 different breeds: Aubrac, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Belgian Blue, Parthenaise, Piedmontese, Saler & Shorthorn. The Angus breed is the number 1 breed in terms of numbers of pedigree calves born.
The tables and graphs above clearly show that the numbers of beef pedigree registrations fell in total by 1600 registrations in 2018 compared to 2017. This decrease in pedigree registrations is no doubt linked to the lack of confidence in the beef sector in recent times. The Pedigree Beef Breeding industry is naturally enough affected and the numbers are proof of this.
The decrease in pedigree registrations however it should be remembered is not a consequence of any lack of effort or endeavor on the behalf of pedigree breeders and their Breed Societies.
Pedigree Breeders operate in an extremely ‘Index sensitive’ market place and have to take into account far more factors when making their breeding decisions than heretofore was the case e.g. €uro-Stars, Genomics etc.
Likewise Breed Societies are as active as ever with breed promotion, shows, sales and supporting their members through the various challenges that today’s technologies and schemes throw up.
The quantity of beef pedigree cattle has decreased however the number of top quality beef pedigree animals being produced each year by committed pedigree breeders has remained extremely high.