It is 20 years since the first of the UK’s Aberdeen Angus premium schemes was introduced. And according to Alan Cheney, the vice-president of the Aberdeen Angus Society, they are set to grow from strength-to strength.

“Demand for Aberdeen Angus beef continues to increase,” confirmed the Co. Fermanagh breeder.

“But nothing in life stays still. And the same can be said for the current Aberdeen Angus quality schemes.

It’s more than likely that greater levels of DNA testing and verification will be introduced to ensure the full provenance of the meat sold under the Angus banner.

He added: “Looking to the future, there may well be a greater demand for pure-bred Angus beef.”

Cheney manages a 50-strong pedigree Angus herd on the outskirts of Irvinestown. All the cows are spring calving . His replacement heifers calve down at 24 months, or as close to this age as possible.

Cheney continued: “Breed numbers remain extremely strong. To a large extent this is due to the continuing recognition shown by all the major food retailers in the quality that is inherent in Angus beef. And this trend is set to grow further during the period ahead.”

According to Cheney, high health status is another strong marketing attribute of Aberdeen Angus cattle. Last year saw him export 28 breeding females to France.

“All were confirmed clear of TB, Brucellosis, IBR, and Johne’s Disease,” he added.

“The demand for high quality Angus breeding stock in France and other countries across Europe continues to grow. And this is purely down to the quality of the meat, which the cattle can produce, and their ability to thrive on high forage diets.”

Cheney does not expect Brexit to interfere with these export opportunities.

“It’s all down to meat quality and the ability of Angus cattle to perform well under all sorts of farming conditions,” he explained.

Irrespective of how Brexit turns out, I am confident that groups from many countries across Europe will be visiting pedigree Aberdeen Angus herds in the UK over the coming weeks and months.

He concluded: “If anything, Brexit will provide an opportunity to profile the quality and depth of Aberdeen Angus breeding in the UK.

“The bottom line is that Angus cattle have a proven track record of delivering on a commercial basis for beef farmers. And this will continue to be the case.”