Patron: His Majesty King Charles III

South Devons Ranked in Highest Place for Three Beef Traits for Native Breeds

Source: AHDB December 2023


In the latest evaluation by AHDB of five traits measured for native breeds, SOUTH DEVONS came top for three out of the five - carcase weight, average daily carcase gain, and carcase conformation (shared ranking).

The AHDB National Beef Evaluations were launched in late 2018, providing the first set of EBVs for UK beef cattle based on commercially sourced data. Performance data flows into the evaluation from a number of UK beef processors and the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), with pedigree information provided by BCMS and pedigree breed societies. Updated EBVs are released three times per year, in April, August and December.

The evalutions give huge confidence in the commercial functionality of the SOUTH DEVON breed, clearly showing its inherent performance potential:

In the carcase weight rankings SOUTH DEVONS were almost 15kg heavier than the average weight and, when this is quantified to what the market is currently paying, it can equate to around £70 per carcase.

The average daily carcase gain is equally impressive, showing that SOUTH DEVONS grow faster than other native breeds, achieving their finished weight efficiently and without incurring undue costs of keep. The breed is well known for its feed conversion efficiency from forage diets, keeping input costs to a minimum.

Likewise in carcase conformation rankings the breed sits equal top of the natives, ensuring that the carcases will mostly fall into the desired conformation grades and not lose out when it comes to the processor cheque.


Breed Secretary Caroline Poultney said, ‘Breeders are delighted to see the endorsement of the South Devon’s production abilities reflected in these rankings. It is no mean achievement when compared with some of largest native breeds not just in the UK but globally.’

AHDB Rankings

The breed has been deservedly rewarded in the August 2023 AHDB native rankings of five commercial traits.

Five breeds were ranked, and South Devons came out on top for three of those traits:

  • Carcase weight rankings
  • Carcase conformation rankings (joint first)
  • Average daily carcase gain

In an industry where price is paid on weight and grade, this is valuable recognition of the commercial beef traits of the South Devon, and should be an encouragement to beef producers looking to maximise production potential and output.

The next evaluation is due at the beginning of December.

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