Beef calf registrations fall faster in Wales than rest of Britain

Beef calf registrations fall faster in Wales than rest of Britain

Wales saw a steeper fall in beef breed calf registrations during 2013 than Britain as a whole, according to new statistics.

New figures released by the British Cattle Movement Service show that the number of registrations in Wales during the year fell by seven per cent – or nearly 16,800 head – to a total of 223,400.

This compared with a fall of four per cent in Britain as a whole, with registrations standing at 1.67 million.

John Richards, Market and Industry Information Officer with Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, said: “The pattern we have seen with the calf registrations mirrors the figures from the Welsh Government’s June survey which showed that the Welsh dairy herd has remained relatively static over the last few years.

“Unfortunately, however, we have seen a fall in the number of breeding beef cows. In June 2013 the total number of beef cows that had calved on Welsh holdings was five per cent down on the figure 12 months earlier.

Richards said there were a number of contributory factors for the decline in the Welsh beef herd, including poor weather conditions, health issues and fertility.

“One of the major reasons, however, is continued concern over suckler cow enterprise profitability,” he said. “While this concern is understandable with increased costs and the market currently being subdued, there is a significant difference in margins on Welsh farms.

“The latest information available to us shows that producers in the top third were achieving 50 per cent higher gross margin per cow than the all herd average. On an upland farm this equated to over £200 per cow.”

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