Pedigree breeding on the rise
The figures in the table (right) were gleaned from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), which is registering cattle for most of the breed herdbooks. It compares registrations by breed for 2005 and 2010. This shows that the Holstein Friesian Herdbook, which registered 73,000 births in 2010, outstrips all others and has jumped by 20,000 births in the five years, albeit from 469 fewer breeders. (One in six Irish dairy farmers is now in pedigree breeding.)
In dairy, Jersey breeding is on the rise but Montebeliarde numbers have collapsed.
Within beef breeds, the Charolais has slipped but is still the biggest in both breeders and animal births. Pedigree Belgian Blue births more than doubled, even though this breed is suited to AI. Newer breeds from France, such as Aubrac and Parthenaise, are growing from a low base.
On the British breeds, the Angus continues to hold a big share of the market but Herefords are still the most numerous.