The suckler beef industry in Northern Ireland comprises many differing dam breeds and breed crosses. However, there is a paucity of data on the influence of dam breed on parameters such as carcass weight, fatness and conformation, and on factors affecting management of the herd (e.g. dystocia and fertility). The latter are particularly important in view of the increasing number of part time beef farmers in Northern Ireland. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the influence of dam breed on production characteristics of the suckler herd in Northern Ireland.