UK Meat Exports Surpass £500 Million

Exports of beef, lamb and pork from the UK have surpassed the £500 million mark for the first six months of 2017 – up 18 per cent year-on-year.

There has also been a 21 per cent increase in offal exports, taking the total value of shipments from the three sectors to £582m.

Statistics from HMRC showed exports to non-EU countries have also risen, with the Asian markets continuing to offer opportunities for beef, lamb and pork.

In other news, tributes have been paid to a 'wonderful' man who was killed by a bull at Gisburn auction mart and three men have been charged with conspiracy to handle stolen goods after farm equipment worth more than £20,000 was recovered at an auction.

Limousin Feed Efficiency Project Progressing Well

Feed Efficiency Programme progressing well

The recent open day at one of the commercial farms chosen to host a data recording unit for the Defra/AHDB funded Beef Feed Efficiency Programme presented a great opportunity to see how Limousin cattle are being used in the important industry research.    

This major industry project, which is progressing well, aims to demonstrate how feed efficiency traits can be measured and selected for in beef cattle. It will illustrate how the most efficient cattle will eat less than others but grow at the same rate. Attendees got to see the cattle in the unit up close and were shown some interim results, which already indicate a notable range of feed efficiency between different sire groups.   To date, actual feed intake of the more feed efficient cattle has tended to be around 12% lower than that for the less efficient cattle, yet growth rates are similar. Across 100 growing cattle gaining 200kg of liveweight, the resultant feed cost savings would amount to over £2,200.

While the initial focus is on recording Limousin-sired cattle, the aim is to develop a system for recording feed efficiency that can be extended to other beef breeds in the future. This will undoubtedly provide significant opportunities for all beef producers to cut the cost of production.

Limousin sired calves are still required for the programme and can be purchased, or loaned via a retained ownership arrangement, from dairy or beef herds. Please contact Natalie Cormack on 07866 934563 / 01890 781006 or email natalie.cormack@ahdb.org.uk if you have suitable cattle up to 8 months of age.

British Charolais Continues to Improve Calving Ease

Breeders responding to commercial demand

Charolais breeders are continuing to make strides forward in delivering bulls leaving progeny that are easier to calve, as well as increasingly efficient and high performing, according to the society herdbook’s latest Breedplan report for 2016.

Modern Charolais’ calving ease direct EBV has increased by 0.8% since 2007 when the breed society introduced the Breedplan genetic evaluation system, whilst the closely correlated gestation length EBV has reduced over the same period by 0.2 days. Furthermore, there has been a continued improvement for each performance trait. For example, 200 day and 400 day growth rates have increased by +4.0kg and +8.0kg respectively.

See: http://www.charolais.co.uk/news/2017/06/27/modern-british-charolais-calving-ease-genetic-improvement-continues/

“Our breeders are using the Breedplan system to carefully select animals that will not only continue to improve growth rate and carcase characteristics, but also to tackle head on improving calving ease,” says British Charolais Cattle Society chief executive, Peter Phythian.

“Genetic progress is both permanent and cumulative, and these latest genetic trends are clearly gaining momentum as more and more progeny come in to the system. They represent a meaningful step forward towards fulfilling one of the society’s key objectives.

“Charolais breeders are focused on supplying the market with genetics that strike a balance between those key traits which are destined to make a significant contribution towards efficient profitable beef enterprises. And their selection processes will continue to meet future demand. Breeders are aware that commercial livestock farmers are starting to gear up their enterprises for changes to the current payment system as CAP support comes to an end, Brexit begins and future profit comes under the microscope.

“All commercial producers can attempt to reduce costs and improve output efficiency, whilst influencing the marketplace is usually out of their control. However, investing in a modern Charolais terminal sire with high EBVs for calving ease combined with performance traits will help to minimise labour requirements and accompanying costs, and leave calves that consistently achieve premiums in the marketplace. Those premiums are likely to persist as Charolais cross cattle continue to reach target finishing weight faster and more efficiently than all other crosses.”

Texel Leads on Performance Recording

The Texel Sheep Society and AHDB Signet Breeding Services have struck a new agreement with regards the provision of performance recording to Texel Society members.

While, initially, this will mean little change to performance recording flocks, over the next 8-12 months it will allow the Society to deliver a more streamlined, improved service to members and all those with an interest in performance recording for the longer term.

Explaining the changes breed development chairman Peter Mitchell said that this change in service delivery follows a review of breed development activity by the Society, which included a consultancy project with NZ based Abacus Bio.

For 2017 the only noticeable change for members would be a Society support payment to fully recording members of £25 +VAT on top of reductions already made by Signet.

“Current recording services for 2017 will remain unaffected, with the aim to roll out improved online data capture and wider promotional services by 2018. This will add to the research and development activity which supports the Society’s genomic technology programme which is expected to deliver new breeding values for hard to measure traits, such as disease resilience and carcass and meat quality to the membership during 2019/20.

Society chief executive John Yates added; “Breed development requires a long term commitment. This change in service delivery for recording services fits perfectly with the breed Society and our objects and aligns trait measurement and development perfectly with our large scale research and development projects.

“Over the next three years, Society-led projects will deliver £3M of investment in Industry sheep research. These projects will focus on recording hard-to-measure disease traits and validating new technology in collaboration with SRUC and ABP food group, a leading meat processor.

“Texel breeders will be the first to access new carcass grading measurement technology – Video Image Analysis (VIA) and adopt novel scoring systems for improving carcass production and managing disease traits. The aim of these projects is to create new systems and deliver the very latest in genomic estimated breeding values (gEBV’s) for these traits.

“It is expected that further work by AHDB at an Industry level, such as creating new CT-derived EBVs and access to RamCompare will further complement to the Society’s investment and breed development initiative.”

For 2017 AHDB-Signet remains the first point of technical support, with the provision and charging arrangements for ultrasound scanning remaining unchanged, said Mr Yates. “Going forward members should continue to submit recording data by their usual method and the Society encourages members to submit it online via the Society database, Basco.”

The Society will update members in due course on how to submit flock data in 2018, but from April 2018 all flock reports will be provided directly by the Society, with a dedicated individual supporting performance recording and research and development activity as part of the Society breed development strategy.

New Chief Executive for Hereford Cattle Society

James Sage, Hereford Cattle Society Chief Executive

James Sage, Hereford Cattle Society Chief Executive

James Sage has been appointed as the Hereford Cattle Society's first Chief Executive. James, who joins from organic certifiers, The Soil Association, said “I’m very much looking forward to joining the Society and working with the team at Hereford House, the Council and the breeders who are the heart of the breed. This is an exciting era within UK and global agriculture and I believe there will be a prominent role for the Hereford to play in post-Brexit UK agriculture. Capitalising on the breed’s many wonderful attributes to further develop sustainable profitable systems for farmers.” 

James has worked within the agricultural and horticultural industries for nearly 20 years and will move from the Soil Association, where he was a Senior Inspector Manager. In this role James was responsible for a team of UK based office staff and remote workers, as well as contractors overseas and has seen him establish new partnerships with other Agri-food businesses. He also successfully identified new areas of business and marketed them to customers. Previously James worked for Defra where he was part of the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate.

Hereford Society Chairman, Richard Mann, said “We are delighted to welcome James to the Society and his excellent background, coupled with his energy to work with the Council and breeders, will take the breed forward in the new and exciting times that are ahead of us.”

James was brought up on a mixed beef and sheep farm on the Mendip Hills. He also runs a small herd of pedigree pigs with which he has won a number of inter-breed titles and the “Pig of the Year” title in 2016. He now lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and family.

SUCKLER HERDS TO BENEFIT FROM LIMOUSIN RESEARCH

Limousin Research Creating New Opportunity in Suckler Herds

Suckler Herd with Limousin-sired calves

Suckler Herd with Limousin-sired calves

BLCS announces delivery of four new Maternal Genomic Breeding Values for the Commercial Sector

In a first for the UK beef industry, Genomic Breeding Values (GEBVs) for three new Female Fertility traits and a new Calf Survival trait are being launched by the British Cattle Limousin Society (BLCS) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in July.  

Following closely behind the breed’s introduction of Carcase Trait GEBVs last year, this development represents another important milestone for commercial and pedigree users of Limousin genetics.   

Because of the Limousin breed’s dominance in the suckler herd, it is anticipated it will have sector-wide impact.  In combination with the already established Carcase Traits GEBVs, these new Female Fertility and Survival GEBVs offer good opportunity for significant financial gain; the use of identified high performance genetics to drive maternal performance will yield direct returns in suckler herds and will create increasing and new trading opportunities for all Limousin stock.  The traits focus on key economic drivers; Age to First Calving, Calving Interval, Cow Longevity and Calf Survival.  All are critically important as the industry continues to move to one being driven even more by efficiency and profitability.

Says John Phillips, a Limousin producer and Chairman of the BLCS “Recent market changes are seeing increasing demand for medium-sized, high performing dams.  Limousin can deliver these and the new GEBVs present quantifiable financial opportunity for all commercial producers to target the key performance drivers in their herds.

“Such opportunity will come not only in the form of reduced costs of production through increased calf returns and lower replacement costs for breeding heifers.   Openings to generate new income streams are now there for the taking, as well as opportunity to increase the rate of genetic improvement in producers’ own herds” continues Mr Phillips.

The delivery of these GEBV’s represents achievement of another major goal of the BLCS’ Breeding Improvement Plan, the objective of which is to invest in targeted areas of the breed’s performance to ensure it delivers market-focussed genetics.   The pathway these new GEBV’s offer delivers a valuable opportunity to investigate and find breeding solutions for traits that have not been possible until now.  Further development for the breed in to areas such as feed efficiency, meat quality and animal health are now possible & ongoing.     

Mr Phillips continued “Producer investment in the breed must yield a return and, through the ongoing roll-out of this Improvement Plan, the Society’s objectives are firmly anchored around this principal”.

The first Maternal GEBVs are scheduled for release on 13th July.    The research was completed by in partnership with SRUC and funded by InnovateUK and BBSRC.

Sheep Discovery for Chinese Delegation

Chinese Delegation pictured outside AHDB HQ, Stoneleigh Park, Warks

Chinese Delegation pictured outside AHDB HQ, Stoneleigh Park, Warks

Sheep and goat experts from China were given an insight into lamb production in Britain when they met the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The Chinese Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA) made a special visit to AHDB’s headquarters in Stoneleigh to learn about the country’s trends and advancements in science and genetics for the sheep sector.

It was part of a top level 12-day China Inward Mission which saw them visit farms, an auction market and the National Sheep Association’s Sheep South West event near Tiverton.

The 23 delegates were welcomed to Stoneleigh by AHDB’s Head of Exports Peter Hardwick who provided an overview of the organisation and the industry.

The group was told there are around 33 million sheep in the UK from more than 100 breeds in a great variety of environments on 70,000 farms. AHDB’s Head of Livestock Export Trade Development Jean-Pierre Garnier said the UK produces in the region of 300,000 tonnes of sheep meat – with around 110,000 tonnes exported every year. He also highlighted that 40% of sheep meat consumed in Europe comes from the UK.

Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB

Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB

The delegation was also told about the importance of innovation such as the ongoing research into grass genetics and grazing systems, ovine genetics, nutrition and the importance of sustainability.

Emma Steele, Signet

Emma Steele, Signet

A presentation by Emma Steele, a senior breeding advisor to Signet, told about helping identify animals with superior breeding potential and helping the industry to capitalise on genetic improvement.

Jean-Pierre said: “We are extremely flattered that the CAAA has chosen the UK to view current trends of lamb production. We certainly are at the cutting edge of scientific and technical developments for this vital British agricultural sector and had a lot to present.

“We are also pleased with the caliber of the participants and large size of the group which amounted to 23 people – among them some of the most influential in the Chinese sheep sector. They have visited some of the leading breeding farms in the UK and have seen some of the best sheep genetics in the world today.

“Importantly, although we already have strong relations with the CAAA particularly in the pig breeding sector, this visit will allow us to build further bridges with our Chinese counterparts on the sheep side. It will also help to showcase our industry at a crucial time when we aim to get market access for sheep meet products to China.”

China Inward Mission Views UK Sheep Sector

IMG_3112.JPG

The UK welcomed a high-profile Inward Mission (IM) from China 17-28 June 2017 built around the National Sheep Association’s Sheep South West held near Tiverton, Devon. 23 members of the Sheep & Goat Association of the China Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA) came to look at the British sheep sector to explore opportunities for future trade both for sheep meat and breeding stock. The visit was supported by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) with Richard Saunders co-ordinating the farm visits.

China has a sheep population of around 160 million based around fifty native breeds of sheep with the Hoo being one of the largest numerically having good mothering ability and profligacy (2.6 lambs per ewe). Crossing breeds such as the Suffolk, Dorset, South African White Dorper and Australian White have been introduced over the years for quality sheep meat production with some Texel and Charollais tups joining them more recently. Lambs aim for a target weight of 40-50kg at around 3-4 months. A two-tier system is often at play: farms either specialising in breeding until weaning age; or purchasing as stores and finishing lambs. Integrated farm-to-plate systems are uncommon but on the rise.

The grazing season is short (max 4-5 months) in many parts of China so a feedlot system is the norm feeding concentrated pellets or a TMR rather than forage. The scale of sheep production in China varies significantly to the UK with flocks of up to 15,000 ewes and 200,000-head finishing units. In this intensive system, the aim is to have ewes lamb three times in two years. Total lamb production is 4,500,000t (around ten times that of the UK) with annual per capita meat consumption at 3kg lamb (compared to 2kg in the UK).

An itinerary was put together to show as many facets of the UK’s sheep sector as possible during the five days dedicated to farm tours.

Sedgemoor Auctioneer Robert Venner

Sedgemoor Auctioneer Robert Venner

Sedgemoor Auction Mart near Bridgwater, Somerset was first stop with auctioneer and AHDB Beef & Lamb Board Member Robert Venner explaining the chain of supply from farm to plate and introducing the concept of selling through a ‘live’ market. Other topics covered included EID tagging, traceability, farm assurance and lamb grading. 2,000 lambs then went under the hammer with the best making 247ppkg (£96.50) for a 39kg pen with heavier lambs selling to a top of £124.

Malcolm Pyne of Pyne's of Somerset

Malcolm Pyne of Pyne's of Somerset

The nearby high-class butcher’s shop, Pyne’s of Somerset, puts around 30 lambs through the store each week via local abattoir Stillman's, with owner Malcolm Pyne ably showcasing quality English lamb. At Pyne’s recently-opened 8,000ft cutting facility next door, butcher Ian Farmer gave a cutting demonstration both of traditional English joints as well as more modern cuts aimed at minimising waste and maximising the value of the carcase.

Pictured with Pyne's Butcher Ian Farmer

Pictured with Pyne's Butcher Ian Farmer

On 20th June, the delegates attended the NSA Sheep South West. At the AHDB stand, the group were able to learn about the work of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board from performance recording, scanning, grading, breeding and genetics through to the carcase itself with the aim of improving the product and adding value for farmers. Thanks go to all the AHDB staff including Joseph Keating, Liz Genever, Sam Boon, Steve Powdrill, Katie Brian, Stuart Nellist & Martin Eccles for giving of their time.

Welcome from NSA Chair Margaret Dalton & NSA CEO Phil Stocker

Welcome from NSA Chair Margaret Dalton & NSA CEO Phil Stocker

Following a welcome from Phil Stocker, CEO of the National Sheep Association, the visitors toured the various breed society stands to look at the diversity and strength-in-depth of British breeds with the help of Margaret Dalton, NSA Chairman, and Llew Thomas, Chairman of NSA Wales.

With AHDB Butcher Martin Eccles

With AHDB Butcher Martin Eccles

Set in the Dartmoor National Park conservation area, Day Three took in Peter Baber’s breeding flocks of Ex-Lana (710 ewes), Suffolk (140), Texel (110) & SufTex (100). The Ex-Lana is a composite of 14 breeds and is a hair sheep (wool-shedding). Peter operates as part of the SIG (Sheep Improved Genetics) Group based on a philosophy of making the best use of grass and minimising manual inputs.

With Sheep South West Host Farmer David Disney & Ex-Lana breeder Peter Baber - both of SIG

With Sheep South West Host Farmer David Disney & Ex-Lana breeder Peter Baber - both of SIG

The aim is to produce superior breeding stock and quality meat that is both economically and environmentally efficient. A Board Member of AHDB Beef & Lamb, Peter has been a key mover in establishing the West Country Beef & Lamb PGI.

Peter Baber's flock of Ex-Lana, Texel & SufTex ewes

Peter Baber's flock of Ex-Lana, Texel & SufTex ewes

That afternoon, the group headed to Darts Farm near Topsham - winner of the Best Farm Shop award 2015 & 2016. Established as a small pick-your-own business in 1971 by his father, Jim Dart (one of three sons that now run the company) gave an overview of the operation which - from humble beginnings – has become what Jim describes as a ‘’regional destination’’.

Jim Dart of Darts Farm

Jim Dart of Darts Farm

On the cattle side, Ruby Red Devons provide the beef and fifty lambs are selected each week for the shop from Exeter or Sedgemoor markets by butchers Alastair & Philip David.

With Darts Farm Butcher Philip David

With Darts Farm Butcher Philip David

Thursday was predominantly a Texel day. In the morning, Paul Quick - together with father Bill and brother Mark - presented the Loosebeare flock near Crediton which numbers 300 Texel ewes, 100 Charollais females plus 1,200 Suffolk Mules put to both sires.

Paul Quick of Loosebeare Texels

Paul Quick of Loosebeare Texels

In a practical demonstration, Paul explained the attributes of the Texel ram of muscle, length of loin and a good back end, and then went through the strengths of the Texel as a breeding ewe with its ability to convert forage well and achieve a lean carcase for prime lamb production. Texel-sired lambs account for around 30% of all crossbred lamb progeny born in the UK.

Texel ewes and lambs at Paul Quick's

Texel ewes and lambs at Paul Quick's

That afternoon, the group travelled to the Cotswolds and met with Aubrey & Sue Andrews who run the Miserden Texel & Blue Texel flocks.

Aubrey Andrews with CAAA International Relations Officer Chen Min

Aubrey Andrews with CAAA International Relations Officer Chen Min

From a strong technical base of performance recording (all sheep are in the top 25% of breed) which includes participation in a genotyping project looking at reducing foot rot and mastitis, the Andrews breed Texel rams with good growth rate and conformation with the commercial customer in mind, as well as females for other breeders.

Sue Andrews with some of this year's crop of ram lambs

Sue Andrews with some of this year's crop of ram lambs

The final farm visit took place on Monday 26th June at Jamie Wild's 2000-head North Country Mule and 150 pedigree Charollais flocks based at Redhill Farm, Barrowden, Rutland.

Jamie Wild presents his Mule ewes with their Charollais-sired lambs

Jamie Wild presents his Mule ewes with their Charollais-sired lambs

First stop were the Mules which lamb early March to Charollais tups with a target weight of 40kg and grade of R3L and above - all going to Morrisons where they have achieved an average carcase weight of 19.7kg. 

Charollais-sired lambs ready to go this week

Charollais-sired lambs ready to go this week

Jamie explained the strengths of the Charollais as a terminal sire - namely easy lambing, good growth with very good muscularity. The group then moved onto the pedigree Charollais flock to look at a bunch of ewes recently weaned from their lambs. Key traits of the breed are revealed in prolific offspring with lambs easily born and quick to get up and suck.

Pedigree Charollais females recently weaned from their lambs

Pedigree Charollais females recently weaned from their lambs

Next up were the Charollais tups with a bunch of ram lambs and shearling tups respectively. The visitors saw a demonstration of the performance recording undertaken at the farm with lambs weighed at birth, 8 weeks and 17 weeks. Eye muscle depth and back fat are also scanned at 17 weeks with the highest-performing progeny put through a CT scanner to assess body mass.

Shearling Charollais ram demonstrating raddling to the Chinese

Shearling Charollais ram demonstrating raddling to the Chinese

Grateful thanks go to all the farms and premises visited as well as for the generous hospitality of all the hosts.

GERMAN SHEEP ASSOCIATION WELCOMES UK VISITORS

Following a visit by German sheep breeders to last year’s NSA Sheep Event in Malvern, the compliment was returned when representatives of the UK sheep sector accepted an invitation to go to northern Germany 13-15 June 2017.

Germany is an important market being the second biggest importer (after France) of British lamb; the UK breeding sector is also an attractive source of sheep genetics both in terms of new as well as high-performing bloodlines.  

Being only 50% self-sufficient in lamb production, the German sheep sector is relatively small: around 1.6m breeding ewes and 2,000 commercial farmers. Annual exports of British lamb are 13,000t which is projected to rise to 20,000t over the next couple of years.

The visit was co-ordinated by Richard Saunders with representatives from the Texel Sheep Society (Ian Murray, Northumberland); National Sheep Association Northern Ireland (Edward Adamson, Co Antrim) & AHDB (J-P Garnier, Head of Exports & Ros Turner, Leics, Beef & Lamb Board Member).

L-R Ros Turner, Wendelin Schmuecker, Ian Murray, Richard Saunders, Edward Adamson, J-P Garnier

L-R Ros Turner, Wendelin Schmuecker, Ian Murray, Richard Saunders, Edward Adamson, J-P Garnier

Host was Herr Wendelin Schmuecker, President of the German Sheep Promotion Board, whose flock of 700 pure German Blackface ewes in Lower Saxony was the first stop – this breed being the third largest numerically in Germany after Texel and Merino respectively.

German Blackface flock Wendelin Schmuecker

German Blackface flock Wendelin Schmuecker

Three-quarters of the flock lamb in January (averaging 1.6 lambs per ewe) with the other quarter in April. The target lamb weight is 45kg - all sold live at around 2.90 euro per kg or £119 per head (as at June 2017).

German Blackface lambs

German Blackface lambs

Heading north to Schleswig Holstein, Wednesday saw a visit to Jan Siebels’ 1000-ewe commercial flock comprising Texel, Bleu de Maine & Suffolk bloodlines with a 2.0 and 1.3 lambing average for older and younger sheep respectively.

UK visitors pictured with Jan Siebels

UK visitors pictured with Jan Siebels

A mixture of rams are used (Texel, German Whiteface & Suffolk) with the recent introduction of Charollais as well as UK Logie-Durno hybrids (50% Lleyn; 25% each Texel & Charollais) around two years ago ‘’to improve the maternal characteristics and have lower maintenance sheep,’’ according to Jan.

Jan Siebels flock

Jan Siebels flock

Lambing in the first and third week of April, target weight for lambs is 50kg with an average price of 2.60 euro achieved in 2016 (£132 per head).

L-R Ros Turner, Edward Adamson, Jan Siebels, Ian Murray, J-P Garnier, Wendelin Schmuecker

L-R Ros Turner, Edward Adamson, Jan Siebels, Ian Murray, J-P Garnier, Wendelin Schmuecker

Young breeder, Hanna Hansen, then presented her 220-head commercial flock which lambs end-February to early April averaging 180% and aiming for the 45-50kg mark. Terminal sires used are Texel, Bleu de Maine & Suffolk.

Hanna Hansen chats to the British group

Hanna Hansen chats to the British group

Away from the breeding side came a visit to the Burmeister abattoir which works in partnership with the Baumbach Farm Shop located in the strong tourist area of Nordstrand on the North Sea coast which markets Nordfriesland (North Friesian) lamb on similar lines to Salt Marsh lamb in the UK. Sales through the shop and online reach 2,000 head annually.

The Baumbach Farm Shop. L-R Ian Murray, Edward Adamson, Ros Turner, Wendelin Schmuecker, Doerte Baumbach, J-P Garnier, Karl Olschewski

The Baumbach Farm Shop. L-R Ian Murray, Edward Adamson, Ros Turner, Wendelin Schmuecker, Doerte Baumbach, J-P Garnier, Karl Olschewski

Family-owned, Burmeister kills 200 lambs, 40 pigs and 20 cows or steers per week and sells mainly to butchers or through their own shops. On the beef side, everything is Galloway-bred either bought in prime or as stores where they are finished on their 300ha salt marsh.

Baumbach Farm Shop cold counter

Baumbach Farm Shop cold counter

Hosting the visit were Uwe Burmeister, Karl Olschewski & Doerte Baumbach.

Pictured with Joerg Jensen second from right

Pictured with Joerg Jensen second from right

Staying true to the coastal theme, Thursday brought Joerg Jensen’s 2000-ewe flock comprising of Texel, German Whiteface & Suffolk crosses put to Swifter rams ‘'to improve profligacy'’ according to Joerg which has resulted in an increase from 1.7 to 2.0 lambs.

Joerg Jensen's flock on the Hamburger Hallig coast

Joerg Jensen's flock on the Hamburger Hallig coast

Progeny retained for breeding are then put back to the Texel.  Lambs are born in three groups from 1st April and sold to a regular Dutch buyer from 1st July at 50kg which are purchased for 2.95 euro liveweight (£147 per head).

Nord Friesland salt marsh

Nord Friesland salt marsh

Based on the Hamburger Hallig salt marsh, like Nordfriesland this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sheep have to be moved onto the raised dikes at high water and losses are high due to the tall grass and boggy conditions.

Texel, Suffolk & Charollais shearling ram lambs from Kalli Fischer

Texel, Suffolk & Charollais shearling ram lambs from Kalli Fischer

The final visit on Thursday was to pedigree breeder Kalli Fischer who sells around 35 rams per year from his 60-ewe flock of Suffolk, Texel, German Whiteface & Charollais. Rams are sold privately or at the annual August ram sale in Husum, the largest in Germany with 700 head coming under the hammer.

Pictured at Kalli Fischer's

Pictured at Kalli Fischer's

New bloodlines are purchased from UK, France, Denmark & Germany and used exclusively in natural service due to the almost non-existent AI sector in Germany, according to Kalli.  Theaves are put to the smaller Dorper for their first pregnancy and lamb at 11-12 months.

Kalli Fischer's senior rams: two German-bred Texels; a Danish-sired German Whiteface and a German-bred Suffolk

Kalli Fischer's senior rams: two German-bred Texels; a Danish-sired German Whiteface and a German-bred Suffolk

Pedigree breeders record through Ovicap and scan just once at 100 days for fat depth and muscling which in turn produces daily liveweight gain figures and some measure of maternal characteristics.

Grateful thanks are extended to Wendelin Schmuecker for organising the extremely interesting trip and to our hosts for their kind and generous hospitality.

SEMENSTORE EXPORTS TO USA, AUSTRALIA, NZ & ESTONIA

SEMENSTORE EXPORTS TO USA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, AND ESTONIA

·      Semen from eight Limousin bulls in all fulfills four orders

·      Simmental and Blonde semen exported to Estonia

A strong demand for predominantly Limousin genetics has resulted in multi-exports of semen from eight bulls in all to the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.  A further order has seen Simmental and Blonde semen exported to the Baltic state of Estonia.  The various orders have come through the online www.semenstore.co.uk 

Featuring established names and bloodlines within the breed the Limousin exports comprise of semen from Dolcorsllwyn Fabio, Ampertaine Foreman, Bahut, Procters Duvalier, Titanic, Wilodge Cerberus, Fenomen, and Karlos respectively.  

Ampertaine Foreman

Ampertaine Foreman

Two separate consignments head to the USA.  Betty Anglani purchased semen from Dolcorsllwyn Fabio (a previous Limousin sale world record holder), Ampertaine Foreman, and Bahut for her Fullblood Limousin herd in Missouri.    Bertha and James Jarnagin of Jarnagin Limousins, Tennessee, also purchased semen from Bahut (conventional and female sexed) and in addition to straws from Procters Duvalier (conventional and female sexed), Titanic, and Wilodge Cerberus.  The James’ were attracted to the choice of Limousin bulls on Semenstore featuring ‘heavier muscling, easy fleshing, and good growth rates’.

Procters Duvalier

Procters Duvalier

The French-bred bull Bahut featured across the exports with another significant order for both conventional and female sexed semen heading to regular Semenstore customer Tim Keys of Keystone Genetics, Victoria, Australia.  With a stated aim of sourcing the best UK-based Limousin genetics available for his Australian clients, Mr Keys has previously purchased Bahut semen whose first progeny he described as being ‘thick calves with moderate frames and a lot of width’.

Bahut

Bahut

A significant order from the bulls Fenomen, and Karlos (homozygous polled) is on its way to Danny and Bethley O’Shea, Snake Gully Limousins, Whangarei, New Zealand.  Again previous Semenstore customers, the O’Shea's were attracted to these two bulls by a combination of their short gestation lengths, ease of calving, and 200-day-milk figures respectively.

Fenomen

Fenomen

Semen from the Simmental bull Drumlone Anchor, and the Blonde bull Blackwater Ainsley, both purchased through Semenstore, was part of a larger collective shipment heading to Northern Europe and the Animal Breeders Group of Estonia.

Blackwater Ainsley

Blackwater Ainsley

Commenting on the online export sales, Iain Kerr, Director of Semenstore Ltd said: 'We are delighted to secure and fulfil these orders to new and existing buyers across three different continents. The online Semenstore continues to provide easy access, visibility and choice on a worldwide basis to a wide range of breeds and British-based genetics.'

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

UK at CAHE China & Global Pig Forum

China Animal Husbandry Expo (CAHE) & Global Pig Forum 2017

The 15th CAHE was held in Quindao 18-20 May 2017 and was preceded by the Global Pig Forum 16-17 May.

The Global Pig Forum

Held biennially, this is a technical forum attended by industry leaders and academics with this year’s theme being safe food production. The British Pig Association (BPA) was invited to speak about UK pig production, its technologies and how the UK has worked to help develop the Chinese pig industry. Canada, Holland and the USA were also invited to speak along the same theme.                          

Addressing an audience of 500 delegates made up of industry leaders, the themes of UK excellence and willingness to do business through the Department of International Trade (DIT) and Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) were pursued.

China Animal Husbandry Expo

In 2017, CAHE attracted more than 160,000 visitors to its 4 halls and 120,000m2 exhibition space making this the biggest exhibition in the region. There were 1,200 exhibitors from 38 countries with international representation at over 20% for the first time.

The exhibition had also broadened its scope to cover the whole livestock chain from farm to table. Leading in importance was very much livestock breeding including pig, poultry, cattle, sheep and goat, rabbit and deer. From the UK stand, advice was offered on many aspects of animal breeding including animal health, animal housing, feed and feed additives, feed processing, grain & raw materials, processing equipment, meat processing, packaging, refrigeration, meat products, egg products, grass and seed, media, knowledge transfer, consultancy and bio-energy.

 

 

International Presence at Beef Expo

10 international delegates joined an Inward Trade Mission 16-19 May 2017 held around the National Beef Association's Beef Expo at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Supported by BLG (British Livestock Genetics Consortium) & AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board) the visit was co-ordinated by Richard Saunders & John Fleming.

Pictured are members of the Inward Mission in front of Wroxhall Abbey Hotel

Pictured are members of the Inward Mission in front of Wroxhall Abbey Hotel

Coming from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia & Germany respectively the attendees came from a wide background of experience in cattle breeding, genetics and meat marketing with their main breed interest being Aberdeen Angus, British Blue & Galloway. Some of the group were able to extend their stay to take in a sale at Carlisle, a tour of Genus ABS and other farm visits.

Delegates & Hosts on the AHDB stand at Beef Expo

Delegates & Hosts on the AHDB stand at Beef Expo

A highlight of the Inward Mission were the Beef Expo Farm Tours held on the 17th May. Showcasing the very best of British beef production, a diverse selection of beef farms were chosen - all championing efficiencies in their relative sectors. Tom & Roger Elliott of Upper Heyford Farm presented their herd of 300 British Shorthorn, South Devon and crossbred cattle, demonstrating how their system optimises forage to produce quality native-bred stores and replacement heifers.

Trailer tour at the Elliotts

Trailer tour at the Elliotts

Upper Coton Farms, Guilsborough, is home to Mike, Jane & Charlie Wills' Approved Finishing Unit which finishes 1,300 cattle per year. The combination of precise cattle selection - predominantly Limousin-bred - and rigorous attention to home-grown feed results in tremendous performance to maximise liveweight gain and minimise cost per kilo. 

German Delegate Birgit Huetter  talking to AHDB Butcher Martin Eccles

German Delegate Birgit Huetter  talking to AHDB Butcher Martin Eccles

John Bell, Berryfields Farm, Daventry focused on presenting a fully integrated beef supply chain based around Holstein bull calves through Meadow Quality and his own feed plant, Berrystock Feeds. This AFU finishes around 2,000 head of dairy-bred cattle annually to supply Dunbia which feeds into Co-op & Lidl. The system relies on quality-assured calves and efficient feeds to maximise return.

Visitors at Berryfields Farm

Visitors at Berryfields Farm

The group was welcomed to the AHDB stand by Jean-Pierre Garnier, Head of Exports, who spoke about the British beef industry and its world-leading position as an exporter of meat, genetics and livestock.

Jean-Pierre Garnier presents the British beef industry

Jean-Pierre Garnier presents the British beef industry

UK First at Zambia Agri-Tech

British Livestock Stand

British Livestock Stand

Richard Saunders attended the Zambia Agri-Tech Expo 27-29 April 2017 on behalf of the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG) & AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board).

Zambia Agri-Tech Show

Zambia Agri-Tech Show

Held in Chisamba, 80km north of the capital Lusaka, the event for the first time hosted a UK Pavilion arranged by the UK Department of International Trade (DIT) in line with its focus on Southern Africa as a Priority One Market.

UK Exhibitors

UK Exhibitors

It welcomed other British companies such as Perry of Oakley Ltd, Chase Organics Ltd, Precision Decision Ltd, Lina Agro Consult Ltd/Haygrove & Agroponic Ltd. There was also a co-ordinated international presence from Germany, France, Holland & Czech Republic with the well-resourced and professionally run three-day show attended by a wide range of farmers and influencers from Zambia as well as others from countries including South Africa, China, USA, Tanzania & Namibia. 

Boran Native Cattle

Boran Native Cattle

Zambia itself is a fertile country well suited to increasing its agricultural production. It is blessed with favourable growing conditions encompassing a warm climate, plentiful rain and good soil ideal for both cropping (maize and soya predominantly) as well as livestock production.

Beefmaster-bred cattle

Beefmaster-bred cattle

The dairy sector is small in size (15-20,000 head estimated) relying heavily on imports; beef cattle, though amounting to around 2-3 million head, are largely not run as commercial units and are based heavily on native cattle (bos indicus-types like Boran, Nguni, Ankole & Brahman). There is a smaller influence of 'beefier' genetics from the South African Bonsmara, the composite Beefmaster (incorporating Simmental, Hereford & Shorthorn bloodlines into local breeds) as well as Simmental & Hereford whose role is as a dual-purpose - terminal & maternal - sire.

Hereford & Simmental Cattle

Hereford & Simmental Cattle

Boran Cattle

Boran Cattle

Beefmaster 15 month-old steers with Bonsmara bull beyond

Beefmaster 15 month-old steers with Bonsmara bull beyond

Although traditionally all-year-round calving, commercial units are moving towards putting bulls in from December with the aim of getting calves on the ground October-November just before the rainy season which runs from November to mid-April.

Dorper-cross tups (black face) with Meatmaster ram

Dorper-cross tups (black face) with Meatmaster ram

Post-event, a visit was made to Kafue Fisheries, a 2,000ha farm comprising 600 breeding cattle plus game with a production of 1,500t of bream and 20,000 pigs annually. The Zambian pig industry is quite well developed; goats (predominantly for meat rather than milk) are increasing in number with a focus on increasing carcase size with sheep also undergoing development. 

Richard Saunders

Richard Saunders

Further meetings were held with local suppliers to explore opportunities for the export of UK genetics and meat to Zambia. 

Kafue Fisheries

Kafue Fisheries

For further information, please contact Richard Saunders T: 07901-768904.

40 British Companies Attend VIV Asia

More than 40 UK companies exhibited at the recent VIV Asia Expo held 15-17 March 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, with UK genetics at the forefront of the UK Pavilion.

The biennial event again took place at the BITEC exhibition centre with more than 1,000 companies present, welcoming over 60,000 visitors:  decision-making professionals from around the world. UK companies reported business interest from countries that Great Britain does not traditionally exhibit in such as Australia, Cambodia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

The UK stand was busy on all 3 days with many interesting seminars taking place throughout the event - all held on site to which UK exhibitors were able to contribute.

For this edition, the organisers arranged a 'Chinese Day' bringing a select group of 50 integrators to the UK Pavilion on Day One where Marcus Bates, Chief Executive of the British Pig Association and representative of UK TAG, the Appointed Trade Organisation responsible for the British trade presence, was able to introduce the UK industry. Day Two saw a dedicated UK Seminar Programme in partnership with the event organisers.

With the support of AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board) and the British Embassy, the event supported B2B meetings with the Chinese delegation together with a successful networking reception at the British Ambassador's residence.

 

UK Export to Tristan de Cunha

UK company exports bull semen to remote South Atlantic island

Red Poll Bull Fedw Stig

Red Poll Bull Fedw Stig

UK exports may be having a boom with extra impetus from the devalued currency, but there’s one company from the south west of England whose latest shipment is quirkier than most. Cattle breeding company, UK Sire Services, has just exported a consignment of native British bull semen to Tristan da Cunha – a tiny and remote volcanic island in the South Atlantic.

The consignment left Manchester late last year, was received in Capetown, South Africa en route, and made the final 2,400km (1,500 miles) leg of the journey by boat. From the island’s tiny harbour, it was taken by tractor into secure storage.

The semen straws included were from the bulls Albany Ludlow, a pure English Hereford, owned by Les Cook & Family from Cambridge; Fedw Stig, a Red Poll owned by John Williams from Shropshire; Gear Blue Moon, an Aberdeen Angus owned by Mark Pilcher, Director of UK Sire Services; and Morlais Dewi Sant, a Welsh Black owned by Hywel Davies from near Merthyr Tydfil.

The eclectic mix of genetics has been chosen for use on Tristan’s own mostly Hereford and Angus cattle where it is hoped they will improve their productivity for both beef and milk. The native British breeds have been selected for their ability to thrive on limited supplies of grazed grass and for their ease of management in sometimes challenging situations.

Neil Swain, who works for Tristan’s agriculture department, formerly studied at Harper Adams University in Shropshire and instigated the shipment, says: “We haven’t had a change of breed for about eight years, so this will bring in some new blood, and we can keep some bulls from our best cows for breeding.”

Mr Swain works with the island’s only veterinary surgeon, and the two have been inseminating the island’s cattle during the breeding season through January and February. He became an insemination technician during his study trip to the UK and says he is delighted to have received the semen shipment after a complex and tortuous trip of over 10,000km (over 6,000 miles).

“The advice I was given by UK Sire Services about handling and storage of the straws was invaluable, and I would particularly like to thank Tim Brook, Store Manager at UK Sire Services, who kept me up-to-date on the shipment’s progress,” he says.

“The insemination period for our cattle has now come to an end, so we await the confirmed pregnancies with interest,” he says.

Rob Wills, managing director of UK Sire Services says: “We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of exporting to such a remote part of the world, through the authorities in South Africa and then by boat to Tristan.

“The fact that this is the 50th country or dependency UK Sire Services has exported to is something we are proud of as well,” he says.

 

Notes for editors:

UK Sire Services Ltd is an independent EU licenced business with one owned stud in the south west of England and working with one independent stud in the north west. Since the company’s establishment in 2001, semen has been processed from over 1,500 bulls representing 52 different breeds of cattle.

Semen has been exported by UK Sire Services worldwide, including to Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St Helena, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United States, Uruguay and Vietnam. There are orders pending for many more countries as they open for trade.

Tristan da Cunha (colloquially known as Tristan), is the name of both a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabitedarchipelago in the world, lying 2,000 km (1,200 miles) from the nearest inhabited land, St Helena, and 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) from the nearest continental land, South Africa. The main (and only inhabited) island has a length from north to south of 11.27 km (7 miles).

For further information please contact Rob Wills, managing director, UK Sire Services Ltd on rob.wills@uksireservices.com or phone 01364 661506; 07980 894660.

Borderway UK Dairy Expo 11 March Preview

For the sixth year running, Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway UK Dairy Expo is all set to be staged at the Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle, on Saturday 11th March 2017.  This flagship event will be held at the Borderway and will see the very best of British dairy genetics and industry innovations gather together in front of a global audience.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the 2017 event is the 67 cattle classes, which include sections for Holsteins, Ayrshire, Jersey, Dairy Shorthorn, Red and White, Brown Swiss and British Friesian, who are also hosting their National Show.  Another key event in this year’s schedule is the Showmanship Youth Championships.  Aimed at encouraging and inspiring the next generation of dairy breeders, this event will bring together young breeders from across the UK and Europe to compete for the top honours.

Commenting in advance of the show classes, David Pritchard Event Organiser and Operations Director for Harrison and Hetherington said:  “Our excellent location and facilities here at the Borderway Centre put us in the perfect position for attracting the very best competitors from the UK’s main dairy producing areas. 

“We have a fantastic number of dairy cattle entered (360 head) in the show classes, which really does showcase the quality of the British dairy industry, and the extreme hard work of those involved, not only on the day, but on a day to day basis.  The event was extremely well represented last year with a very high calibre of entries across all classes.  With the number of entries we have received this year, we expect to top this and are very much looking forward to a truly exceptional show.”

Judging the classes will be a line-up of British and International judges: Roger Turner of Winconsin, America will judge the Holstein classes; Canada’s Blair Weeks, of Prince Edward Island, will judge the Coloured breed classes; the UK’s Meurig James will judge the British Friesian National Show; Paul Harrison of Northumberland, UK, will judge the Champion of Champions; and Michael Halliwell, also from the UK, will judge the UK and International Showmanship Championships.

As in previous years, the demonstrations are highly anticipated and offer Dairy Farmers the chance to gain an insight into the services available to them to help maximise the efficiency of their enterprise, or simply improve the overall quality of their herd.  Demonstrations by Cogent will commence at 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm and will run for approximately one hour.  Demonstrations by Alltech KEENAN will take place at 10.30am and 1.30pm.

Returning to Borderway UK Dairy Expo for the fifth year is The John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award is in memory of the life time industry contribution made by Cumbrian dairy farmer and highly regarded breeder, John Dennison, with the aim of recognising a high achiever and excellent role model within the dairy industry.  Former recipients have included Mike Miller of Shanael Holsteins, near Evesham in Worcestershire, John Gribbon and Sammy McCormick, of the Hilltara Herd, Bangor.  The 2016 recipient was renowned Holstein breeder, and 2016 Champion of Champions exhibitor, Alister Laird of Blyth Bridge, Peebleshire.

Taking place in the evening, following Borderway UK Dairy Expo, is the All-Britain Awards Presentation Dinner and Dance, sponsored by Holstein UK and Cattle Information Service (CIS).  This will take place at The Shepherd’s, Carlisle, and tickets are available to order email Carolyn.charlton@borderway.com.

Testament to the success of Borderway UK Dairy Expo is the continued support from the mainline sponsors: Holstein UK, CIS, Clydesdale Bank, Norbrook, Farmers Guardian, Carrs Billington and Harrison and Hetherington.

For more information on Borderway UK Dairy Expo please visit www.harrisonandhetherington.co.uk, entrance to the event is free of charge. 

 

British Simmentals head to Azores

The largest exportation of British Simmental Cattle left on the 7th February
2017 for the Azores. The Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands in the
North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal.

The exportation consisted of consignments from Mr & Mrs Moffat, Innerwick
Farm, Innerwick, Dunbar, East Lothian East Lothian, EH42 1SE; Mr Richard
McCulloch, Over Hill House, Armadale, West Lothian, EH48 3AR - managed by
John Hughes; and J C McLaren & Partners, Knox House, Coldwells Road, Crieff,
Perthshire, PH7 4BB - managed by Tom Henderson.

In total 13 heifers and 3 bulls were exported to the Azores with the transport and certification organised by Andrew Ewing, Dumbretton Farm, Dumfries.
 

Genus/PIC enter partnership with Hermitage

GENUS ACQUIRES HERMITAGE'S GENETIC ASSETS AND ENTERS INTO A STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Genus, a leading global animal genetics company, and Hermitage, one of the longest established pig breeding companies in Europe, have announced that they have signed an agreement to enter into a strategic partnership covering the supply of porcine genetics in several markets.  

PIC, Genus's porcine division, will acquire the genetic rights and intellectual property of Hermitage. Hermitage will also become a strategic supply chain and distribution partner for PIC. In addition, PIC will acquire certain Hermitage customer relationships in various geographies including Russia, the US and several European countries. The transaction is subject to a number of closing conditions which are expected to be fulfilled by the end of March 2017.  

The partnership combines PIC's genetics expertise and quality, and Hermitage's supply chain network and operational excellence. This combination will strengthen PIC's ability to deliver genetic improvement in Europe and provide customers of both PIC and Hermitage with access to top-tier genetics and optimal technical and health services.

Hermitage was established in 1958 in Ireland and is one of the longest established porcine breeding and genetics companies in Europe. Over the years, Hermitage has grown into a multinational porcine breeding company.

British Limousin Sales Reach £5.6 Million

BRITISH LIMOUSIN SALES INCREASE ON THE YEAR TO £5,646,159   

Gross sales of pedigree Limousin cattle, sold at official British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) auction sales in 2016, increased in the year by over £300,000 to a figure of £5.6 Million. Recently released figures show that total pedigree Limousin sales in the year came in at £5,646,159 - up by almost £308,225 on the 2015 figure. 

In the course of the 2016, eighteen collective sales were held at Carlisle, Stirling, Brecon, Newark, Dungannon, Ballymena and Aberdeen respectively to gross £3,925,038. Official BLCS Breeders’ Sales, which comprise of Production, Reduction & Dispersal Sales, grossed a further £1,721,121 on behalf of 20 individual herds. Just under 1,450 animals were sold in all at pedigree Limousin sales in the year.

Commenting, BLCS Chairman John Phillips, Whitland, Carmarthenshire said:

 “These are terrific figures and reflective of the ongoing demand for the breed and the quality of the cattle being brought forward.  The suckler men and the feeders are looking for performance and efficiency.  They want easy-calving, cheap-to-keep, easy-managed cattle that are feed efficient, do well and hit the target weights and grades consistently. Limousins are fitting that bill.” 

“Commercially cattle that convert food efficiently, hit the ideal slaughter weights at the youngest possible age, and have repeatable, quality carcases consistently hitting the target grades, are very much in demand and finding reward.   There has been a significant and long term industry move to sourcing cattle at 15-16 months of age and weighing 350-380kgs and this has put a focus on medium sized cows producing fast growing calves that are finished at this age and hit the spec.  This change in market focus fits the Limousin breed extremely well as a suckler cow and producing first quality calves with top grades, good yield and high killing out percentages.  These are the principle factors in the strong performance at the Limousin sales through the year.”

In the last twelve years, Limousin pedigree sales have grossed just under £70 Million (£69,930,274). Whilst the high-end of the trade in 2016 saw 45 animals in the year make 10,000gns or more, the highest proportion of bulls at the sales were again sold between 2,000gns and 5,000gns.