Charolais has been overtaken by Angus in a dramatic shift in popularity of the main cattle breeds.

Births of pedigree Angus cattle have risen by 45.8% over the past decade, according to new figures compiled by the Irish Farmers Journal.

Charolais pedigree births have fallen by 14.5% over that time. Angus has also overtaken Limousin in terms of pedigree births.

A decade ago, Angus trailed well behind the continental beef breeds.

But there were 9,296 Angus pedigree registrations in 2016 compared with 9,227 for Limousin and 8,287 for Charolais.

The change is due to a surge in the number of Angus breeders and births per breeder.

This has arisen from dairy farmers expanding their herds and seeking easier-calving, shorter-gestation bulls.

The reputation of the Angus and Hereford breeds for lighter carcase weights as well as marbling and taste qualities has also grown in recent years.

Premium prices for such cattle at the factories mean dairy farmers are getting good prices for the calves on the ground.

In addition, live export markets all around the EU for breeds such as Angus and Hereford have flourished in recent years. Charolais cattle had long been the backbone of the suckler herd, particularly in the west of Ireland, but this is a strong signal that the demand for Angus bulls is at the expense of Charolais.

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