Aberdeen Angus beef set to retain a premium in the market

The future for Aberdeen Angus beef is bright, according to newly-elected Irish Aberdeen Angus Association of Ireland president, John McEnroe.

“Consumer demand continues to grow, which is good news for those farmers committed to sourcing high-quality, cross-bred Aberdeen Angus cattle.

“Quite rightly, Aberdeen Angus-cross calves and weanlings from both dairy and suckler beef herds continue to secure exceptionally strong prices in sale yards across Ireland.

“This reflects the premium return that can and will continue to be secured for Aberdeen Angus beef,” he added.

McEnroe went on to point out that pedigree Aberdeen Angus breeders remain committed to further developing the quality of the cattle produced in Ireland.

“For example, the use of beef recording is helping to improve the calibre of pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle at an ever faster rate.

“Yes the bred is renowned for the quality of its beef. But, traits such as ease-of-calving, calf vitality and the ability of pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls to put genuine shape into the beef calves produced from black and white cows are growing in relevance with livestock farmers up and down the country.”

McEnroe fully recognises the value of the various quality beef schemes now operating in Ireland to pedigree Aberdeen Angus breeders.

It is for this reason that the association has acted to copper fasten the verification measures that are in place to ensure their total authenticity at all times.

At the very heart of this commitment is the investment made by pedigree Aberdeen Angus breeders in genotyping all pedigree calves registered since the beginning of 2019.

“It has always been the case that farmers wanting to avail of the of the various Aberdeen Angus quality schemes should only submit finished cattle born to pedigree sires.

“But now, the technology is available to ensure that these criteria are met at all times,” he added.

“Aberdeen Angus breeders have invested a lot of their own money in developing a database containing the genetic fingerprint of every Aberdeen Angus bull registered in Ireland.

“This is a foolproof DNA-based identification system, which will help ensure that every animal submitted for slaughter under any of Ireland’s Aberdeen Angus beef schemes has, indeed, been born to a registered sire.”

The current Aberdeen Angus quality bonuses are worth up to an additional 20c/kg or approximately €60/head on all in-spec animals.

“All the meat plants will continue to visually assess cattle submitted for the Aberdeen Angus schemes. But simply checking for the absence of horns and the other visible characteristics of Aberdeen Angus-cross cattle is only the beginning of a process,” McEnroe confirmed.

“Genetic testing will also be carried out.”

The Aberdeen Angus Association president made these comments while visiting the dairy farm of Tom Finnegan, who milks 130 Holstein Friesian cows near Oldcastle in Co. Meath.

The herd is split into spring and autumn-calving groups with cows currently averaging 7,500L at 4.00% butterfat and 3.6% protein.

Tom uses pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls on all cows and heifers, which are not required for the production of herd replacements.

Aberdeen Angus Association of Ireland president John McEnroe (right) discussing the wide range of top-quality Aberdeen Angus bulls available at the present time with Co. Meath dairy farmer Tom Finnegan

“The Aberdeen Angus-cross calves are born with lots of vigour. And we have very few calving difficulties,” Tom explained.

“I try to finish as many of these animals on the farm as possible. The Aberdeen Angus calves are very easily reared and they put a bit of shape to beef cattle produced from black and white cows.

“On average, I can finish the Aberdeen Angus calves born on the farm a full 60 days earlier than black and white males.

“The Aberdeen Angus quality scheme is currently delivering an extra 20c/kg. That works out at around an additional €55-60/head. It is a bonus that makes a real difference when it comes to determining the viability of the beef cattle produced on the farm.

“I have been using pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls for the past 12 years. It’s important that dairy farmers using the breed select the type of sire that best meets their need.

“The good news is that Irish breeders have made great strides in developing Aberdeen Angus bloodlines that meet the specific requirements of livestock farmers across the board,” he concluded.

To view available pedigree Aberdeen Angus breeding stock, just click here