• BLCS Chairman John Phillips gives his first annual report to members at 44th Society AGM. 

“The £1 Million investment in the long range Limousin Breed Improvement Plan will very much be the central tenet of the British Limousin Cattle Society’s work in the coming years to ensure that the breed continues to provide producers with cattle that are profitable and that are adaptable to meet changing markets.”

This commitment to genetic improvement of the Limousin breed in the United Kingdom was the strong statement of intent from British Limousin Cattle Society Chairman (BLCS) and Whitland, Carmarthenshire based breeder John Phillips at the Society’s 2015 Annual General Meeting held in Hereford on Saturday 18th September.

John Phillips Chairman
John Phillips Chairman

The Limousin Breed Improvement Plan, published in 2014 and following two years of industry discussion, producer surveys, consultation and analysis, lays out 10 prioritised areas for investment that Mr Phillips stated were “innovative, wide ranging, long term and will drive even greater levels of breed performance.” The investment in the breed of over £1 million was, he noted, “a very strong statement to all sectors of the supply chain as to the breed’s future.”

Focus in the plan is given to areas including: the accelerated improvement of the breed’s easy calving capabilities; improving rates of gain in growth and carcase traits; the introduction of measures to identify and further improve feed efficiency; and exploiting the use and development of genomic breeding values (GBVs), a beef industry first.

Mr Phillips reports that the breed improvement work outlined is already well under way in the shape of the Carcase Traits project that will see the introduction of Genomic Breeding Values (GBVs) for a range of new carcase traits.  Limousin would also be the main breed in the DEFRA funded Feed Efficiency project recently announced.  “Feed remains the main cost with beef production in the UK and this is a hugely important area of work to take aim at.  The work in time on the maternal attributes of the breed will also be very important as improvement of its terminal characteristics is driven on,” Mr Phillips continued.

The published figures and statistics show the Limousin breed and Society as having a consistent level of attainment and performance over a sustained number of years and the annual report outlined that 2014 was another solid year of achievement with a few highlights thrown in.  A summary of main points included:

  • Limousin was confirmed as the largest numerical beef breed in the UK for the nineteenth year in a row and since passport records began.
  • Pedigree Limousin registrations surpassed the 19,000 mark for the fifth year in a row.
  • Pedigree sales realised more than £6.6 million in 2014 up by almost £1 Million on the year. Just under 1900 animals sold at BLCS sales in the year.
  • The long range Limousin breed improvement plan was rolled out.
  • Limousin was announced as the main breed in DEFRA funded feed efficiency project.
  • Limousin breed won 14 interbreeds at the summer show ‘majors’.
  • Six of the seven ‘major’ winter prime stock shows were won by Limousin sired cattle
  • Glenrock Illusion sold for a Limousin world record and all-breeds European & UK record price of 125,000gns.

The strengthening pedigree sales in the year is described as ‘extremely encouraging’ whilst the ‘seemingly never ending’ demand for Limousin females by commercial producers and pedigree breeders was also emphasised.

Gary Swindlehurst Hon Treasurer
Gary Swindlehurst Hon Treasurer

BLCS Hon Treasurer, Gary Swindlehurst, Procters Farms, Clitheroe, Lancashire, reported to the meeting that the ongoing strong performance of the breed, coupled with good long term financial management, had given the Society a very solid base from which to progress its technical, promotional, and core herd book work.

A summary of the main points of the 2014 BLCS financial year included:

Headline figures 

  • Total income for the period ended 31st December 2014 of £959,084.
  • Total expenditure of £913,782.
  • Income from birth registration fees levelled at £535,686.
  • Sale commission for the year totaled £67,563, up by £15,949 on the 2013 sales year.
  • The total net movement in funds on the year was £69,257
  • In the year £61,500 was returned to members in the form of pedigree refunds through the Society’s ongoing Breed Improvement incentive. Since its introduction over £700,000 of registration income in all has been returned to members.

Within the report and accounts the level of funds carried forward in the year is shown £2,671,858 up by £69,257.

The 44th Annual General Meeting of the British Limousin Cattle Society was held on September 18th at the Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford, HR2 7BP.