BCMS figures show British Limousin as the leading numerical beef breed for the 14th year in a row

Figures released for 2009 by the British Cattle Movement Service, Workington, have again confirmed that British Limousin has maintained its position as Britain’s number one beef breed for an impressive 14th year in a row.  The annual figures, produced from 1st January – 31st December 2009, show that out of a total of 1,794,908 beef sired calves registered in the year, 576,256 representing a 32% market share, were sired by Limousin bulls.

Continental sires again continue to lead the beef figures with Aberdeen Angus being the only native breed within the top five ranked breeds of Limousin (32%), Charolais (15%), Aberdeen Angus (13%), Simmental (10%) and British Blue (10%) respectively.  In the fourteen years since the establishment of BCMS, just under 9,250,000 Limousin sired animals have been registered.

Following the Limousin breed in the 2009 figures, the Charolais breed show 270,909 calves registered in the year representing a 15% market share, whilst Aberdeen Angus figures show 237,162 registrations or 13% market share.

Of the home countries, the highest Limousin percentage share is shown in Wales where 40% of the 237,827 beef calves registered were sired by Limousin, some 19% ahead of the Charolais breed in second position.  The Limousin breed also leads the figures in both England and Scotland with a 31% market share in each country respectively. Since the formation of the British Cattle Movement Service thirteen years ago to record all British cattle births and movements, over 9 million (9,167,852) Limousin sired birth registrations have been recorded.

England saw 1,073,513 beef sired calves registered with BCMS – up slightly on the year – which is a 60% share of the overall British total in the year. Continuing the previous year’s trend, England also saw the biggest variation to the national total rankings with Limousin being the largest numerical breed followed by Aberdeen Angus in second, British Blue third, Charolais fourth and Simmental in fifth.

Despite the strengthening beef prices evident in the last year, the overall number of beef sired calves has seen a further drop of 26,597 registered in the year, down 1.5%, from the 2008 figure of 1,821,505.  The longer term trend shows a drop of 162,092 calves from the equivalent figures in 2006, a drop of over 8%.  One reason for the decline in 2009 beef calf numbers has been the noted increase of pure-bred dairy heifers, around 450,000 in all, which has seen a move away from beef inseminations by dairy producers.

Commenting on the figures, British Limousin Cattle Society Chief Executive Iain Kerr said; “Limousin is firmly established as the benchmark beef breed in the United Kingdom reliable and predictable for both its performance and profitability.  Its unique and proven advantages in calving ease, feed efficiency, grades, meat yield, killing out percentage, and reduced costs of beef production, are what drive this profitability and these attributes are recognized by both beef producers and the meat trade”, he commented.  “Limousin breeders keep raising the bar in the quality of the pedigree stock they are producing and their eye, along with that of the Society, continues to be focused on meeting the demands of the market place and the commercial customer”.

BCMS Figures for 2009
Animals Registered Percentage Share
British Total
1.  Limousin 576,256 32%
2.  Charolais 270,909 15%
3.  Aberdeen Angus 237,162 13%
4.  Simmental 185,779 10%
5.  British Blue 175,168 10%
6.  Other Beef Breeds 349,634 19%
Total 1,794,908
1.  Limousin 329,210 31%
2.  Aberdeen Angus 145,852 14%
3.  British Blue 130,449 12%
4.  Charolais 112,671 10%
5.  Simmental 102,065 10%
6.  Other Beef Breeds 253,266 24%
Total 1,073,513
1.  Limousin 151,899 31%
2.  Charolais 107,927 22%
3.  Aberdeen Angus 81,557 17%
4.  Simmental 72,843 15%
5.  British Blue 18,273 4%
6.  Other Beef Breeds 51,069 1%
Total 483,568
1.  Limousin 95,147 40%
2.  Charolais 50,311 21%
3.  British Blue 26,446 11%
4.  Simmental 10,871 5%
5.  Aberdeen Angus 9,753 4%
6.  Other Beef Breeds 45,299 19%
Total 237,827
Source: British Cattle Movement Service ( BCMS), Workington