While embryo transfer accounted for just 3% of the 2013 pedigree calf crop last year, it accounted for 48% of the Belgian Blue crop.

The figures which look at beef breeding in Ireland, from the ICBF, show that continental beef breeds first started to be imported into Ireland in the 1960s with Charolais, Simmental, Limousin and Blonde d’Aquitaine were the breeds first brought into Ireland. However it is Hereford, Shorthorn and Angus cattle that have been in Ireland longer than any other breed of cattle brought into Ireland.

Since the 1980s, five more breeds have been introduced: Belgian Blue; Piedmontese; Aubrac; Salers and Parthenaise.

The number of pedigree calves born in 2013 was 33,950, with 19,815 from Irish sires. Almost 90% of the pedigree beef calves born in Ireland last year were from five breeds: Limousin; Charolais; Angus; Hereford and Simmental. Some 42% of pedigree calves born last year were sired by foreign bulls, which came from 13 different countries.

The figures also show that Charolais no.1 breed of beef sire in Irish sucker herds, siring 37% of all beef calves born in 2013. It also shows that Angus is the no.1 breed of beef sire in Irish dairy herds, siring 42% of all calves in 2013. Limousin is the no.1 breed of beef cow in Ireland with 33% of all beef callings in 2013 being from Limousin cows.