Aberdeen Angus calves made up 25.6% of the total calf registrations by sire in Scotland, up 0.7% on the year.

The latest British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) registration data alongside QMS calculations, shows 15,000 more Aberdeen Angus calf registered in 2023 compared to 2022.

The breed led the way for the third year in a row, with 10% growth over the last six years.

One of the main drivers in registering the sire are the premiums offered by processors for Aberdeen Angus sired animals, unlike most other breeds.

Continental registrations stayed fairly stable on the year, with Limousins at 16.6%, falling 0.8%, Charolais just 0.3% behind on the year at 11.8%, and Simmentals witnessed the same set back at 10.3%.

A massive total fall of 14,900 calves were not registered in 2023 compared with the previous year.

“Both the beef and dairy sector are increasingly turning to Aberdeen Angus genetics as the focus on sustainability sharpens,” said Robert Gilchrist, CEO of the Aberdeen Angus cattle society.

The Scottish Farmer: Robert Gilchrist, CEO of the Aberdeen Angus cattle society Robert Gilchrist, CEO of the Aberdeen Angus cattle society

“We’ve been the beef sire of choice in the UK for the last three years, and it’s very positive to see continued growth,” he added.

When it comes to beef production, Mr Gilchrist says there is no doubt that margins within suckler production are tight, but many of the key advantages of Aberdeen Angus genetics align with profitability.

“High-growth rates and the ability to convert low quality feed into a high-quality product that commands a premium in the market, are vital traits when it comes to efficient and profitable production.

“Traits such as calf vigour, being polled, easier handling due to their natural docility, are also becoming key drivers for Aberdeen Angus genetics, especially as farm labour tightens.

The Scottish Farmer: Calf registrations in Scotland by main breed groupsCalf registrations in Scotland by main breed groups

“Such like, these exceptional maternal and terminal traits have resulted in significant growth in Aberdeen Angus registrations from the dairy sector. Short gestation, calving ease and calf vigour are some of the traits that dairy farmers value.

“The gestation length can be seven to 10 days shorter than some continental breeds, which means you can get cows milking quicker and back in-calf sooner,” explained Mr Gilchrist.

In addition, the high market demand and premium prices for registered Aberdeen Angus sired calves also makes them the preferred choice according to Mr Gilchrist.

“Buyers of dairy cross calves will be reassured knowing the sire of a registered Aberdeen Angus bull, not only because it will secure a premium at the point of sale but because the cattle will grow-on well and finish quickly from lower quality inputs.

“These traits are becoming increasingly important as we shift towards more sustainable methods of beef production, where efficiency, the environment and economics all need to be considered,” he concluded.