From Condroz to the conquest of the world.

The Walloon region and its conscientious stock breeders have together fashioned this unique breed today known as the Belgian blue.

Initially, the Belgian Blue, at this time called “breed from Mid and Upper Belgium” was a dual purpose animal coming from fairly uniform local cattle and a limited number of Durham bulls. The selection of double muscled cattle occurred between 1960 and 1970. It responses to the economic climate and, in particular, to the demands of a meat industry, very sensitive to the muscle conformation, reflecting the composition of the carcass. The increased profit linked to well muscled cattle pushes the breeders to mate the meatiest animals to each other. That is why, from an originally dual purpose breed, the Belgian Blue has become a specific breed of beef cattle, with the following traits and benefits : extraordinary muscle development, desirable meat quality (tenderness), stature, early maturity, feed efficiency, docility, uniformity and maternal aptitudes.

The potential of the Belgian Blue, the breed which is to meat what the Holstein is to milk, has not escaped the attention of meat producers be they Europeans, Americans, Australians… searching for a terminal male breed.

Trials of crossing between the Belgian Blue sire and local breed cows were carried out. As a general rule, they reveal the superiority of the BB crossbred calf resulting in increased growth, feed efficiency and above all muscle conformation. This demonstration has been gradually brought in different breeding universes, first in Belgium, then in Europe and finally in the whole world. These results act as a good recommendation which greatly facilitate the penetration of new markets. In regions where fodder is abundant, hundreds of thousands of tones of fat are still being produced for no good reason owing to an inadequate genetic base. Furthemore, improvements in carcass as a result of a Blue bull render the use of anabolics (still widely practiced outside Europe) superfluous in the fattening of beef cattle.

Creation of the BBI.

In 1986, the Belgian Blue Herd-Books organized themselves into the International Association of Belgian Blue Cattle breeders whose headquarters are in Ciney, at the office of the Belgian Blue Herd-Book. Apart from Belgium itself, the founder members comprise: France, Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark and the United States, followed subsequently by Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. Hungary is member of the BBI since 1997 and Czech Republic since 2005.

The creation of a Herd-Book implies a sufficient number of breeders members. The Herd-Book therefore cannot be set up in certain countries where, nevertheless, the Belgian Blue is already widely used in crosses through artificial insemination. This is the case in Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Moreover, the Blue is becoming firmly established in Mexico, Brazil and Paraguay. These countries are invited to send observers to the meetings organized by the International Association.

Now used in pure breed in the North of Europe for the meat production, its extraordinary abilities in crossing have allowed its expansion in the whole world.