BRITISH LIMOUSIN CATTLE SOCIETY CHAIRMAN, JOHN PHILLIPS, GIVES HIS SECOND ANNUAL REPORT TO LIMOUSIN MEMBERS
Record breaking sale averages, a world record price, an increase in Limousin market share, dominance of the summer and winter shows, and major progress with the Society’s ten-year breed improvement programme. These were the upbeat headlines from British Limousin Cattle Society Chairman John Phillips in his second annual report to members published within the Society’s 2015 BLCS Annual Report and Accounts.
Looking at the year as a whole, and the early months of 2016 Mr Phillips commented upon the economic challenges, change, and speculation for agriculture, the beef industry, and the United Kingdom as a whole with the consequences of the historical Brexit vote and what that will mean for the United Kingdom’s farmers.
“From a beef production perspective it would seem obvious that with the industry moving in a market driven direction that the focus must be full-square on efficiency and profitability. Cattle with the genetics that convert food efficiently, hit the ideal slaughter weights at the youngest possible age, and have repeatable, quality carcases consistently hitting the target grades, will be in demand and will find reward.”
“Through 2015 and into this year there has been a significant and long term industry move to sourcing cattle at 15-16 months of age and weighing 350-365kg. This brings into focus medium sized cows producing fast growing calves that are finished at this age and hit the spec. Retailers, which account for 86% of fresh beef sales in the UK, have made clear the size of cattle that they want and will pay less for beef from heavier carcases. “
“This change in market focus is one that I think fits the Limousin breed extremely well as a suckler cow and producing first quality calves with top grades, good yield and high killing out percentages. The dynamic is already evident and has been a principle factor in the strong Limousin performance at bull and female sales in the year,” said Mr Phillips.
Also highlighted is the ongoing work in the Limousin long range Breed Improvement Plan which was launched in 2014 and is noted as being the central part of the Society’s forward technical work. In early 2016 Limousin genomic breeding values had been produced for a range of carcase traits in what was a beef industry first for the UK. Work is also reported as ongoing in the DEFRA funded feed efficiency project, within which Limousin is the featured breed, and most recently the Society has embarked on a further maternal traits project which it is expected will yield new female fertility and calf survival GEBVs. These three projects in size are £1.5 Million, £1.75 Million, and £200,000 respectively and the Chairman John Phillips states that he is “proud that the Society is in a position, and has had the vision, to take part in this far sighted work. The ongoing aim is to future-proof the breed and provide producers with cattle that are profitable and adaptable to meet current and changing markets,” he says.
The report highlights that this work and investment is what differentiates the Limousin breed in the eyes of producers, processors and retailers and will continue to grow market share and increase returns for breeders. At the close of 2015 the Limousin breed was again confirmed as the UK’s leading beef breed, for the twentieth consecutive year, and with an increased number of Limousin sired passports with BCMS in the year.
In commending his 2015 report, John Phillips congratulated all BLCS members who had contributed to another very strong performance for both the breed and the Society and he listed some of the main breed highlights and achievements from the year.
• Limousin confirmed as the largest numerical beef breed in the UK for the twentieth year in a row and since passport records began. 486,680 Limousin sired passports issued, an increase of 2,299 on the year.
• Pedigree Limousin registrations surpassed the 19,000 mark for the sixth year in a row.
• The four year Limousin Carcase Traits project was completed and rolled out.
• Work commenced in the DEFRA-funded feed efficiency project with Limousin as the main breed.
• Limousin breed win 14 interbreeds at the summer show ‘majors’ for the second year in a row.
• Six of the seven ‘major’ winter primestock shows were won by Limousin sired cattle including the ‘Grand Slam’ of English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh Winter Fairs.
• UK all-breeds record average of £8,709 set at Carlisle up by £467 on the previous mark.
• Trueman Jagger sold for a Limousin world record and all-breeds European & UK record price of 140,000gns (£147,000).
BLCS Honorary Treasurer Gary Swindlehurst reported that the core income areas of registrations, membership, and sales commission had been maintained at a very high level which was extremely pleasing in what he also described as ‘a challenging industry for pedigree and beef farmers.’
Commenting on the Society’s Breed Improvement Plan, Mr Swindlehurst said that £1 Million of investment had been ring fenced to achieve the ten breeding goals identified over a ten-year period. “I reiterate that the long term aim of the Breed Improvement Plan is the development of high quality Limousin genetics to deliver significant increases in performance and profitability for pedigree and commercial beef farmers across the industry.
A summary of the main points of the 2015 financial year reported includes:
• Total income for the period ended 31st December 2015 of £955,577.
• Total expenditure was £861,882.
• Income from birth registration fees levelled at £526,100.
• Sale commission for the year totalled £49,119.
• The total net movement in funds on the year was £32,758
The Society’s investment portfolio is reported as continuing to perform well and in line with benchmark figures. Within the report and accounts the level of funds carried forward in the year is shown as £2,704,616 which is up by £32,758.
The 45th Annual General Meeting of the British Limousin Cattle Society was held on 15th September at the BLCS Offices, Concorde House, Leamington Spa.