In the late 1970s, the USDA Meat Animal Research Centre in Nebraska, USA, started looking at the benefits of composite breeding techniques for cattle efficiencies, utilising crosses between native breeds such as the Hereford and Angus, and the continental breeds, in particular the Simmental and Gelbvieh.
From these trials came three different composites: the MARC I, MARC II and MARC III. After extensive trials, the MARC II, which consisted of 25% genetics from the Hereford, Angus, Simmental and Gelbvieh, proved to be the most profitable both in cow/calf and feed yard performance, and this was selected as the basis for the Stabiliser® breed.
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Initially, the MARC II Stabiliser® cattle were all red with white faces. Over time, black Angus, black Simmental, black Gelbveih and black South Devon have been introduced to the breeding programme and the removal of the Hereford breed, so currently, the breed is a mixture of red and black cattle.
In 1997, 5 Yorkshire beef producers, led by industry innovator Richard Fuller, created the Beef Improvement Grouping Ltd. The company initiated the development of an improved suckler cow to replace the less-efficient dairy bred animals they were rearing.
After several visits to the Leachman Cattle Company in Montana and the USDA Meat Animal Research Centre in Nebraska, the directors of the Beef Improvement Grouping selected the Stabiliser® breed to develop in the UK as a purpose bred beef cow.
The Beef Improvement Grouping trades as the Stabiliser® Cattle Company (SCC) and is owned by JSR Farming Group Ltd, Birdsall Estates Ltd, and R&J Farms. The company offers a complete package for suckler beef producers from breeding stock to a premium market for finished cattle.
SCC coordinates the breeding programme for over 100 breeders, known as multipliers, who manage 12,000+ breeding cows to produce the best suckler beef genetics available today, delivering cattle that are driving beef profitability and sustainability.
In October 2014, the Stabiliser® Cattle Company was officially recognised as a pedigree organisation by the UK Government under Commission Decision 84/247/EEC.
We are trying to produce beef that meets market specification and make the most profit possible. Using Stabilisers we are achieving our objectives, we have a low cost, low labour cow and good quality finishing cattle that meet the needs of the market.- Mel and Pete Momber, Hampshire
I’m excited by the prospects the Stabiliser can deliver for us. The proof was there based on scientific research, backed up by a large gene pool and precise management systems. It seemed the perfect breed for our farming system.- Will Evans, Machynlleth
On weaning in May at 10 mths old the Stabiliser calves were on par with the Blue and Angus calves. These were turned out to grass until early September then housed. This is when I was surprised by the differences between the breeds, the Angus averaged 480kg, the Blues 490kg but the Stabilisers were 530kg.- Robin Talbot, Laois – Ireland
In 2011 we bought 46 Stabiliser heifers plus 3 bulls and sold our 3 Belgium Blue bulls. The results were clear to see, by the time we pregnancy tested our 100 cows later that year. We went from historically having 15% barren cows to only 3% barren in a 9 week mating period.- Jeremy Iles, Gloucester
I have found Stabiliser cows to be very forage efficient. Their ability to put weight on in the summer months means I can save on winter feed costs. This has allowed me to keep more cows on the same resources.- Jono Cole, Cornwall
We have an easy-care system that is as profitable as any other beef enterprise. We benchmark our herd against the AHDB industry figure and we sit comfortably ahead of the top third performers. I believe we are now producing a carcass with the conformation and eating quality consistency that the market wants.- Dan Burling, Cambridgeshire
Docility, feed efficiency tested, easy calving, hybrid vigour, fertility, growth AND carcass traits from highly maternal cattle, what’s not like?- Robin Norrie, Fife
We aim to get most out of grass as possible. The hardy nature of the cattle seems to suit this system very well. Hardly any assistance is required during calving, combined with the excellent calf vigour produce healthy and strong calves which further reduces labour costs.- Llion and Sian Jones, Conwy
We’re over 10 years into our Stabiliser journey, we’re reaping the rewards. Moving to the Stabiliser has been a game changer for efficiency and job satisfaction, allowing us to increase cow numbers on the same area and finishing bulls averaging over 380kgs at 13 months. Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!- Peter and Jackie Storrow, Pembrokeshire
Stabiliser cattle are a specialised suckler beef breed with the added bonus of hybrid vigour. The cattle are multi-trait performance recorded to produce EBV’s, this has a huge positive economical effect on our business. All of this is crucial for us to have a financially improving suckler herd on the farm.- Harri Parri, Llyn Peninsula
We chose the Stabiliser breed for their docility and easy calving traits, but with the added benefit of turning grass into meat. We soon saw all of these traits were true. Our first home bred steers were finished off grass at an average age of 19 months.- Dyfed Roberts, Anglesey
Despite our rainfall, we outwinter our cows on kale, the stabiliser cow will lay down excess fat, and successfully rear her calf. During the winter considerable cost savings are made. By changing to Stabiliser cattle I keep approximately 50% more cows as they only weigh 650Kgs, which meant more beef being produced.- Matthew Cooke, North Devon
We started using Stabiliser bulls 20 years ago. The fertility of the breed has enabled us to calve our own heifers at 24 months and reduce our calving period to nine weeks. This together with their good temperament has encouraged us to increase cow numbers. Consequently, the farm is now producing a lot more kilos of beef.- Edward and Ellis Griffith, Pwllheli
Minimal labour is required at calving time, with easy calving cows and calves up and suckling in no time at all. This gave us the ability to increase our cow numbers with no extra labour. The growth rate of Stabiliser cattle is exceptional, producing high weaning weights whilst converting feed efficiently.- John and Ianto Pari, Gwynedd
We started using stabiliser genetics in 2016, we have not looked back since, they exceeded all our expectations. Changing to stabilisers has enabled us to calve heifers at 2years old with no problems, cows wean a higher percentage of their body weight, we have increased cow numbers without any need for extra labour.- Carys Jones, Camarthenshire