Continued growth in Northern Irish beef calf births in 2016

The number of beef calves on the ground in Northern Ireland has jumped 19% so far this year, the latest figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.

Up to the end of April, there have been 136,762 beef calves registered in the North, over a quarter of these calves were born in April of this year.

Nearly 90,000 of these calves were born to suckler cows, up 15% or 11,855 head on the same time in 2015.

The Northern Irish dairy herd continues to act as a valuable source of calves for the north’s beef industry, it reports.

Beef sired calves from the dairy herd accounted for 34% of beef calves registered in the North during the first four months of the year.

The figures from the LMC also shows that Angus remains a popular bull choice among dairy farmers, accounting for 37% of all beef cross dairy calf registrations in 2016 to date.

And, Limousin and Hereford cross calves account for 19% and 17% of all beef cross dairy calves registered in the North so far this year.

However, despite the increase in beef calf births, dairy sired male calves were almost unchanged from the same time in 2015, with 32,436 dairy bull calves registered.

But, there has been some growth seen in the export market, with dairy bull calf exports up by 10% or just over 6,000 head on 2015 levels.

Irish calf exports down 13.5%

The live exports of Irish calves dropped during the first four months of the year, according to Bord Bia.

Calf exports dropped by 13.5% between January 1 and April 30, 2016 compared to the corresponding time in 2015.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 53,125 calves exported from Ireland, down 8,289 head on the same time in 2015.

However, despite the decline in calf exports. Irish calf births are continuing to rise.

According to the ICBF, calf registrations have increased by almost 2% or 27,982 head so far this year, while dairy calf births have jumped by 5.8% or 59,216 head