January 1 of this year marked the establishment of a bespoke Aberdeen Angus herd book for the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the Irish Aberdeen Angus Association (IAAA) will now have responsibility for pedigree calf registrations throughout the EU.

IAAA general manager Felicity McGrath explained:

“The association in Ireland currently has a membership in excess of 530, which is steadily increasing.

“In addition to these members, the herd book will also be registering cattle for 18 other EU member states.

“Due to the steady increase in membership in both Ireland and Europe, the association is running ahead of its projected registrations for 2021.”

Different rules for Ireland

Co. Tyrone Aberdeen-Angus breeder, Alan Cheney, is the immediate past president of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, which has its headquarters in Scotland.

He commented: “The reality is that different rules now prevail in the UK and the EU when it comes to the registration of cattle.

“However, everything possible will be done to maintain the closest possible alignment between the different herd books and the official recognition given to the different pedigrees, as they evolve throughout the different jurisdictions.”

Cheney went on to confirm that demand for this type of pedigree breeding stock has been particularly strong since the beginning of the year.

He said: “This reflects the buoyancy across the various beef markets at the present time. There is also every prospect that demand for quality beef will remain high over the coming months.”

Aberdeen Angus schemes

The various schemes for this pedigree are currently offering farmers up to €60 on all eligible animals submitted for slaughter.

“In other words, the money will only be paid out if the steer or heifer has been sired by a fully registered, pedigree Aberdeen Angus bull,” Cheney commented.

“Using any other sort of sire automatically disqualifies cattle that might be submitted for one or other of the schemes.

“Using a pedigree bull guarantees farmers a market for their cattle. But this is only part of the story,” he said.

“By using a pedigree bull, farmers can confidently select a suitable sire that will produce easy calving progeny.

“Full performance figures are available on all pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls, covering all aspects of subsequent calf performance. The incentive for farmers to buy a better bull is obvious.”

DNA database

According to the Co. Tyrone breeder, a DNA database of all registered Aberdeen Angus bulls is now available.

He said: “All cattle submitted for the various Aberdeen Angus beef schemes are now DNA-tested at point of slaughter. Animals not sired by a pedigree bull will be identified very quickly.

“The meat plants and the supermarkets are totally committed to using the sire database in this way. 

“This means that all calves declared by farmers for an Aberdeen Angus scheme will be subject to this testing procedure at point of slaughter,” he concluded.