The British Blue is a specialist beef breed of medium size a long body, with prominent double muscling and sloping rump. They are popular in the UK with around 45% of dairy beef inseminations from British Blue bulls. Genetic evaluations of the breed are available from Breed Plan. Around 180,000 calves are sired by the breed each year.
The breeds double muscling trait is shared with another breed, the Piedmontese, they are both capable of converting feed into lean muscle which produces a low fat content.
If crossbred with Holsteins or Friesians their calving difficulty rate lowers compared to other large, continental beef breeds.
The British Blue is a crossbreed originating from Belgium importers crossing the English Shorthorns with Dutch Friesians. They soon became popular with the UK beef cattle breeders as they are docile by nature, fine boned, heavily muscled, have tremendous growth potential and produce a high yielding carcass.
British Blues have a 20% higher muscle yield than most breeds which is due to amyostatin gene mutation, Myostatin is a protein that inhibits muscle development as the British Blue’s gene lacks this muscle growth inhibitor their muscles develop far more than other breeds. This also makes their meat leaner.
The breed is also renowned for their high feed conversion ratio and less feed is required for higher weight gain than other breeds. Higher protein feeds are required due to the increased muscle and high-energy (concentrated) feeds are important during finishing.