Welsh beef calf registrations fall faster than the rest of Britain

Beef calf registrations fell more steeply in Wales than in the rest of Britain during 2013, according to figures released by the British Cattle Movement Service.

The statistics show that the number of registrations in Wales fell by 7%, or nearly 16,800 head, to a total of 223,400. In Britain as a whole the fall in registrations was 4% to 1.67 million.

John Richards, market and industry information officer at Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) – Meat Promotion Wales, said: “Unfortunately, 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 5% down on the figure 12 months earlier.”

Richards said the decline was due to a number of factors, including poor weather, health issues and fertility.

He added: “One of the major reasons, however, is continued concern over suckler cow enterprise profitability. 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% 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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