A new company specialising in marketing dairy and beef semen has been launched, promising to shorten the supply chain by selling bulls direct from the stud and offering breeders the chance to profit from their own top genetic bulls.
Called UK Sires Direct, this represents an expansion into direct marketing for the long-established bull stud, UK Sire Services, based in Dartington, Devon. Renowned over many years for the collection, storage, distribution and export of cattle semen, an expansion into direct sales to farmers is a logical next step.
“The launch of UK Sires Direct represents a unique development in the cattle genetics market,” says the company’s founder, Rob Wills, who is joined in the business by Pete Sherwen of Scawfell Genetics in Cumbria. “We have not only shortened the supply chain, enabling us to offer semen at very competitive prices, but we have also opened the way for the UK’s top dairy and beef breeders to market semen from their best bulls while retaining their ownership of these animals.
“Offering a sales network of this nature for farmer-owned bulls is a first for the industry, and means farmers can potentially achieve high levels of income from their top genetic merit bulls, while buyers will have wider access to the country’s best bloodlines,” he says.
However, enhancing the home-bred offering in the company’s web-based portfolio is an extensive cross-section of international sires selected independently from a wide spectrum of sources.
“For the dairy breeds, this includes the influential LIC from New Zealand, top grazing genetics from Ireland, the best of North American high genomic index sires, outstanding Fleckvieh genetics from Bayern Genetik in Germany and bulls from the Nordic countries’ acclaimed Viking Genetics,” says Mr Wills.
“We believe this gives us the most diverse portfolio of dairy sires on the market today, ranging from the high genetic index Holstein to the traditional British Friesian, and including a full complement of coloured breeds such as Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Fleckvieh, Montbeliarde, Brown Swiss and Dairy Shorthorn,” he says.
In sourcing its beef portfolio the company has taken equal care, paying close attention to the quality of beef-cross calves from the dairy herd, while also reaching out with elite genetics for pedigree and cross-breeding suckler beef producers.
“Importantly, many of our beef sires have been selected by industry bodies like Meadow Quality Calves as ‘Superior Sires’,” says Mr Wills, who has vast personal experience of sire selection and has been commissioned by supermarkets on many occasions to select sires for their beef schemes.
And with breeds on offer including Angus, Limousin, British Blue, Charolais, Hereford, Devon, South Devon, Simmental, Wagyu and many more, the beef portfolio is just as diverse as that for the dairy breeds
“We believe our portfolio is the most eclectic of any AI company’s in the UK and – as an organisation run by former and current dairy and beef producers – we have been careful to select our sires from a breeder’s rather than a corporate perspective,” says Mr Wills.
“As a result we have many specialist bulls to meet particular needs including BB kappa casein bulls, A2/A2 bulls and homozygous polled bulls from a variety of breeds.
“Adding this to the solid foundation of high fat and protein dairy sires which transmit good daughter fertility and low cell counts, and high EBV beef sires with outstanding terminal and maternal traits – including calving ease – gives us confidence that we will be able to meet all of the needs of any dairy or beef producer in the UK.”
Working alongside Rob Wills and joint founder, Pete Sherwen are John Dallyn (communications manager) who can be contacted for orders on 07825 566284 and managing consultant, John Black. Orders can also be placed through the company website using credit card payment at www.uksiresdirect.com
Pictured is a daughter of the Fleckvieh sire, Round Up, from Bayern Genetik, marketed by UK Sires Direct.