Breed Commentary


1982 – 2012~ 30 years of Quality Stockmanship and Development

  • Belgium breeders imported top Durham Shorthorn cattle from England from 1850 to improve native breed in the Ardennes

  • By 1930 beef type was beginning to show and by 1960 the distinct meat animal seen today had begun to emerge

  • The breed today is a specialist beef/meat producer of large size, prominent double muscling, sloping rump, hidden hips, a straight back and strong fine legs

  • First importation into the UK 1982

  • Pedigree population in 2011 approximately 44,818 animals

  • At the last count approaching 45% of the UK's dairy beef inseminations are by ‘British Blue’ bulls

  • BCMS Statistics indicate that, now, approaching 180,000 calves are sired by a British Blue every year. This makes the British Blue the 5th most influential Beef Breed Society in the UK

  • The late 1990’s saw the breed development, in the UK, being specifically recognized, as the “British Type” of Blue. A further step forward in 2007 saw the British Herd Book being promoted, here and overseas, solely, as “British Blues.” The Herd Book name being changed accordingly, to The British Blue Cattle Society.

  • A Beef Recording service is provided by the global leaders in Genetic Evaluation “Breedplan International”

Breed Characteristics

  • A large long bodied animal with a straight back and sloping rump, hidden hips and very muscular hindquarters, strong legs with a fine bone

  • Coat colour can be from white through to black, including Blue Roan

  • Gestation length at 285.6 days for males and 281.6 for females is slightly lower than bovine average

  • Milk yield of recorded cows 3.400kg at 3.56% fat

  • Calf birth weight averages 48kg for males and 44kg for females

  • Bulls on average grow to about 150cm and can weigh up to 1.300kg. 400-day weights have been recorded as high as 692kg

  • Food conversion is a major advantage. It has been found that ‘British Blue's’ Food conversion is 13% better than other continental breeds

  • The breed has a very high boning out percentage. Up to 85% with an excellent yield of top quality/price cuts. The meat is very lean and has a much lower fat content than other breeds

The story of the ‘British Blue’ is one of evolution and improvement. During the second half of the 19th century Shorthorn bulls were exported from the UK to Belgium, to improve the native population, which were primarily of a dairy type. Between1920-1950 there was active selection for this dualpurpose type of animal. 1950 -1960 saw a move to favour animals with heavier muscling. As a result of skilful selection the ‘Blue’ as we know it today was born. Animals of this type were then imported back into the UK in the early1980’s. British Blues genetics are now playing a major role in shaping the carcass sought after by the modern, efficiency conscious, UK meat trade as is demonstrated by competition results in recent years.

Here are just a few examples: -

Success Where It Matters

  • Twice won the Tesco Best Steak competition, once at the Royal Highland and once at Balmoral Show, Northern Ireland

  • Supreme Champion carcass, National Primestock Show, Bingley Hall

  • 2009 – Burke Trophy Reserve champion (Royal Show)

  • 2009 – Winners of the Beef Competition, the International Beef Group Competition and The Interbreed Junior Beef Group Competition – Great Yorkshire Show

  • 2009 – East of England Show – Winners of the ‘Beef Quartet’

  • 2010 – winners of the Nat West Team of 5 at the Royal Welsh Show

  • 2010 - Agri-Expo (Carlisle) - Supreme Champion a BBX heifer

  • 2010 - Welsh W. Fair – Supreme Champion & Baby Beef Steer Champion, a BBx

  • 2010 - AgriLIVE Smithfield – Reserve Champion a BBx

  • 2010 - English Winter Fair – Reserve Champion a BBx

  • 2011 – Winners of the Nat West Team of 5, at the Royal Welsh Show

  • 2011 – Champion & Reserve – Asda “Tastiest Steak” competition RWAS

  • 2012 – Royal Highland Show Interbreed Competition - Reserve Champions

  • 2012 – Welsh Winter Fair – Baby Beef championship, a BBx

  • 2012 – Bath & West Show – Beef Interbreed Champions

  • Quiet temperament

  • Easy handling qualities

  • Premium Calf prices

  • Premium Cull prices

  • Premium Crossbred prices