Calf birth registrations in Britain have increased by 0.4% during the first half of 2021, according to figures published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
From January to June, 1.57m calf births were registered, an increase of 6,500 on last year.
Despite the increase, the number of calves that will be available for specialist beef production is actually down 0.6% year on year.
This is due to a significant increase in the use of sexed semen in dairy herds, which has led to an 8% drop in dairy-sired male calf registrations. In total, there are 9,000 fewer beef cross animals year on year.
However, the increase in sexed semen does mean there are 13,000 more diary heifer calf births, a 6% rise.
When it comes to beef sires, the data show an ongoing decline in continental breeding and a rise in traditional beef breeds. Limousin-sired calf registrations fell by 5% year on year, with Angus rising 6%.
NI calf births
The trend in calf birth registrations in Britain is similar to NI, which recorded a 0.5% rise during the first half of the year, although when compared to 2019, NI calf births are down 3% or 9,102 head.
Suckler births are down 1.3% on 2020, while beef-sired dairy calves are up 6.5%. Dairy-sired male calves have now fallen in number for four consecutive years.