BEEF breed registrations continued to grow during 2018, despite the impact of drought conditions in many parts of eastern Australia.
Primary registrations increased by 4.5 percent to 147,293 head last year, the Australia Registered Cattle Breeders Association reported on Friday.
The ARCBA statistics (see table below) add to records for primary and secondary registrations for 36 beef breed associations over the past 33 years.
In terms of year-on-year growth, standout breeds in 2018 were Simmental, Angus and Santa Gertrudis, with primary registration increase of 17.6 percent, 17.2pc and 14.2pc respectively.
The size of the Angus increase is something of an aberration, however, as it follows a 9.1pc decline in primary registrations the year before, after a number of large Angus breeders failed to register spring calves in late 2017, carrying over to the 2018 year.
There are now ten beef breeds with 5000 or more calves registered in a calendar each calendar year.
Tropical breeds had contrasting registration results in 2018, with Brahmans down by 17.1pc, evidently as a result of the impact of drought, while Santa Gertrudis breeders increased their primary registrations by 14.2pc. Droughtmasters were steady with a small increase of 70 registrations in 2018 compared to 2017.
Among the European breeds, Charolais remained the largest with 7935 registrations, up by 1pc, with Limousin showing a small decline of 0.2 percent to 6070 registrations.
While Wagyu primary registrations were steady at 11,799, the breed advanced to fourth place in volume of primary registrations, moving past the Brahman breed.
Year-on-year the British breeds increased their share of primary registrations from 53.4pc to 55.7pc, largely due to the big increase in Angus, while the tropical breed share eased from 23.4pc to 21.5pc. The European market share held steady at 14.1pc.
Secondary registrations include animals that are bred for seedstock production and recorded by a beef breed society, but excluding animals entered in the Society’s Herdbook. An example is the Angus Performance Register which records non-Herdbook animals included in the Angus Breedplan analysis. There are other less formal registers which include the progeny of registered parents which can be performance recorded and contribute to seedstock production.
The Angus breed last year recorded the most secondary registrations, with a total of 72,793 combined primary and secondary registrations recorded. Brahmans stepped up to second place for combined registrations last year with 15,350 secondary registrations and 25,418 in total, with Herefords ranked third with a combined 23,143 registrations.
“While the 17pc increase in overall Angus registrations in 2018 was pleasing, we believe it is simply a continuation of the gradual long-term increase in the seedstock market share of Angus,” Angus Australia’s Dr Peter Parnell said.
“Part of the increase last year was undoubtedly due to timing, with catch-up on registrations missed by breeders in the previous 2017 year,” he said.
“But the long-term average growth in Angus registrations over the past 10-15 years, after smoothing out aberrations due to timing, has been about 5pc per year. This reflects the excellent job done by seedstock breeders in continuing to satisfy market requirements and the sustained premium for Angus cattle and beef across the supply chain,” Dr Parnell said.