New results shows improved fertility in the Welsh beef herd

Mar 2 2012

New figures released this month show a rise in the number of calves registered in Wales despite a drop in the number of breeding cows.

Results from the 2011 Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture showed that beef breeding cattle numbers in Wales had decreased by 2 percent to 237,000 when compared to the previous year. While figures released by the British Cattle Movement Service showed that despite this drop the number of beef calves registered in Wales last year had risen.

John Richards, Industry Information Officer with Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, said: The results from last year show that the number of beef breeding cattle has dropped back to the same level as 2009. However, despite this drop the number of beef calves registered had increased by 1.5 percent compared to 2010 and by 5.5 percent when compared to 2009.

This suggests that we are seeing increased fertility among the Welsh cattle herd, which is positive for the future of the industry.

The decrease that has occurred in the breeding herd can be put down to farmers rationalising their herds by getting rid of their older and less productive cattle. This is shown by the fact that cull cow numbers in 2011 were significantly higher than in previous years. said Mr Richards.

To help aid the fertility of the Welsh beef herd, support is available to help farmers from HCC in a number of ways.

HCC is offering fifty percent funding up to 500 for Artificial Insemination (AI) and fifty percent funding of up to 700 for Embryo Transfer (ET). Farmers can also claim up to 200 towards bull fertility testing.

Margins within beef enterprises have been tight over the last few years but we hope that the funding available will help beef farmers to ensure that they're getting the best out of their breeding cattle. said Mr Richards.

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