THE Beef Shorthorn Society has reported yet another record uptake during 2020, adding to its continual growth over the past decade. In the past 12 months registrations increased to 4,239, up 60 per cent since 2010.
In addition, the society attracted 138 new members, up 10 per cent year on year, and more than doubled in the past decade to an active membership of 1,056, president Cathryn Williamson told the online annual meeting held on Sunday.
Furthermore, those trends were mirrored in the 2020 BCMS calf registrations, which show that over the past 10 years UK Beef Shorthorn and Beef Shorthorn cross populations within the beef sector have increased by a significant 222 per cent, the fastest rate of any breed, and over 60 per cent greater than the next highest.
Charles Horton, of the Hannington herd, Poulton, Cirencester, Glou-cestershire, was elected president, and vice president is Tim Riley, Stoneyroyd herd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Four new directors were elected: South of England, Tina Russell; North of England, Alistair Gibson; and Scotland, Pamela Nicol and John Scott; whilst Richard Henning was reelected to represent Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“Despite working within Covid-19 restrictions, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to champion Beef Shorthorn, which is quite clearly meeting with the sector’s current requirements for a modern functional suckler cow that offers in-demand maternal traits, including calving ease, milkiness and motherability. Beef producers are also noting its quiet temperament and its suitability for low input forage based systems,” commented Mrs Williamson, who completed her two-year term of office.
“These demand trends have been confirmed by the latest BCMS data which confirms that the number of Beef Shorthorn sired cattle is continuing to increase faster than any other breed, both native and continental. Furthermore, Morrisons Shorthorn Beef Scheme continues to fuel demand from finishers in the store ring for steers and heifers surplus to replacement requirements.
“The last 12 months have witnessed Beef Shorthorn breaking four record figures in the Stirling pedigree ring at the society’s official sales.
“A new 15,000gns female price tag and £3,543 female average was achieved in October. Last month bulls sold to 27,000gns and achieved a new £6,127 average, whilst Beef Shorthorn enjoyed the best of the two-week multi-breed sales and was commended for being the only breed to record an increase in the number sold compared to the 2020 event.
“The society’s activities have adapted to the Covid-19 restrictions with the introduction of a web based Marketplace providing online opportunities to buy and sell Beef Shorthorn cattle, both pedigree and commercial, along with semen. We have launched a series of webinars designed to inform and inspire stakeholders with subjects including performance recording and herd health.
“We have also developed a series of web-based Focus Farms – commercial units discussing data led benefits of introducing Beef Shorthorn to their respective suckler herds.
“One offer the society has been able to continue is Linear Classification; 1,165 cattle from 85 herds were classified in 2020, bringing the total number to 6,343 females inspected in 150 UK herds since the initiative’s launch with independent classifiers five years ago.”
She added: “Despite our overall success adapting to some of the latest technology and new ways of operating in the last 12 months, the society is much looking forward to the Covid-19 restrictions gradually being lifted for the opportunity to meet again in person.”
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