Beef Shorthorns Search for Top Student

Beef Student of the Year launched with £3k at stake

The Beef Shorthorn Society has launched Beef Student of the Year, a first-time award open to those studying agriculture or a related course at a UK agricultural college or university.

£2,000 is at stake for the winning student together with £1,000 to their place of study to be spent on a beef-related project. 

Students between the ages of 18 and 35 years are being invite to write an essay of up to 1,500 words, complemented with a 140-character Tweet describing how a commercial suckler unit could introduce Beef Shorthorn to its current model in order to develop a sustainable and profitable enterprise, without support payments, post-Brexit.

College and universities have the opportunity to nominate up to three essays each by 10 February deadline. The Beef Shorthorn Society’s judging panel will go on to select four finalists to attend a final judging round later in spring.

Beef Shorthorn Society chief executive, Milly Fyfe, commented: “We are pleased to launch this award – the first of its kind, which is designed to provide the upcoming generation with the opportunity to reflect the beef sector’s requirement for future producers, demonstrate an understanding of the industry and the challenges it faces post-Brexit, and how farmers will need to respond in order to achieve sustainability and profitability. 

“The judges will be seeking students who are able to best demonstrate they have an awareness of how to manage a profitable suckler beef enterprise post-Brexit, and the tools - both management and technical - they will deploy to achieve their goal. They must also demonstrate a commitment to progressing their career within the beef farming sector.”

Largest-ever Texel Export Heads to Switzerland

The largest single export of Texels to leave the UK has recently headed to Switzerland, with a total of 103 Texels from seven Scottish flocks exported at the end of September.

The consignment included both males and females, with both ram lambs and shearling rams among those purchased by the Swiss breeders. Gimmers made up the bulk of the females sent, with a selection of ewe lambs also bought, explained Robert Laird who coordinated the export. “They were once again looking for good, functional, commercial sheep with growth and carcass.”

Sheep in the consignment came from Mr Laird’s Cambwell flock, the Clark family’s Garngour, Teiglum and Clarks flocks, Angus McColm’s Crailloch flock, Jimmy Warnock’s Watchknowe flock, David McKerrow’s Nochnary flock and Allan Campbell’s Strawfank flock.

Swiss importer and breeder Heinz Pluss said the latest consignment of Texels to leave for the country had been sourced to meet growing demand and interest in the breed in Switzerland. “Interest in Texels is very high in Switzerland and some breeders are now undertaking performance recording too.”

Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates said the continued export demand for British Texels and particularly performance recorded stock was something the breed could be rightly proud of.

“Exports of this size are rare, but it shows the appetite for British Texels in Switzerland and indeed Europe as a whole. The high level of performance recording among the breed is another determining factor for many buyers with importers seeking as much information about the sheep they’re buying as possible.

“Performance recording is another layer of detail and information which helps with their decision making process and gives reassurance about the genetic potential of the stock they are buying.”

Mr Pluss, says the advances made by British Texel breeders using performance recording are immediately obvious when the sheep are compared with those from other countries. “In the past some breeders imported Texels from Germany and France because they were cheaper there than in the UK. However, sadly they discovered there was no real difference to our local breeds.

“When I first imported British Texels it was soon clear to me that they were superior to all other breeds and types. There are no other sheep in Switzerland with such a potential for growth and such genetic potential,” says Mr Pluss.

“There is a massive difference in the quality of lamb I am now producing since switching to solely British Texels. Many butchers say they’ve never seen carcasses like those of the British Texel lambs.

“I had been dissatisfied with our local breeds and felt I couldn’t do anything to improve the quality of my sheep. British Texels have turned that around for me and no I’m seeing a steady demand for ram lambs from commercial sheep farmers looking to improve their flocks.”

Dynamic British Livestock stand at EuroTier

EuroTier 15-18 November 2016 was the venue for a dynamic British Livestock stand comprising sheep, cattle and pig breeding organisations, livestock exporters and AI companies.

Held in Hannover, Germany every two years, this is the world’s largest indoor agricultural exhibition boasting 150,000+ visitors and over 2,300 exhibitors and provided UK companies with a platform for promoting their sector to a global market.

British Livestock Stand at Eurotier 15-18 November

Please come and visit the British Livestock stand situated in Hall 11 E-06 during Eurotier 15-18 November in Hannover, Germany. Supported by the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG) and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), there will be representatives on hand covering the beef, sheep, pig and dairy sectors. Exhibiting companies on the stand include: British Pig Association, Charollais Sheep Society, Delta Wagyu Europe, Eggs-Port Ltd, AE Ewing Livestock Exports, Suffolk Sheep Society & UK Sire Services. Please contact Richard Saunders 07901-768904 for further information. We look forward to seeing customers and friends old and new!

India-UK Tech Summit Focus on Agri-Tech

The India-UK Tech Summit taking place in New Delhi 7-9 November 2016 is an unprecedented three-day showcase and business expo designed to drive even greater levels of business between the UK and India. Included as a Focus Theme is Agri-Tech. It will be opened by the Prime Minister as part of her first overseas Trade Mission and demonstrates the real weight of importance the UK places on our future relationship with India as we look outwards following the referendum on membership of the European Union.

The TECH Summit is the flagship trade event in India this year, and provides a platform to showcase the very best in cutting-edge UK technologies while promoting the UK as India’s partner of choice for innovative solutions. This is where the brightest and best in business will be.

The Summit is India’s largest knowledge and technology conference taking place in New Delhi from 7 - 9 November 2016. A UK Government partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Summit will comprise a number of eye-catching events, installations, policy dialogues, panel discussions, workshops and organised B2B partnering.

The focus themes will cover Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Smart Cities, Healthcare, Life Sciences and Agri-Tech plus sub-summits on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Design, Higher Education and Intellectual Property.

With expected senior ministerial attendance and representation from the most significant businesses in India and the UK, this is an opportunity to network, learn from, interact and sell to the figures shaping the commercial, educational and policy-defining landscape in India and the UK today.

For more information, including sessions, speakers and programme, please visit:


Book now for The India-UK TECH Summit

Date:6 – 11 November 2016

Location:New Delhi, India




Registration and fees

Entry to the India-UK TECH Summit is free for UK delegates. To sign-up, please click on the book now tab above.

Applications will be vetted and places are limited (must be UK-based). Subject to approval, there is no fee but all accommodation, flights and insurance costs will be the responsibility of participants.

Find out more:


E: UKIndiaTechSummit@

T: +44 (0) 20 7034 4848

Flying the Flag at Irish Ploughing Match

The British Livestock stand, organised in conjunction with the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG) and supported by the Export Department of AHDB Beef and Lamb was abuzz with interest throughout the 3 days of the 85th Irish National Ploughing Championships – ‘The Ploughing’ - held near Tullamore, about 60 miles due west of Dublin from 20th to 22nd September 2016.

 The whole site covered over 600 acres and included over 250 acres of competition ploughing involving the most modern reversibles to horses and vintage classes.  The attendance at this, the largest outdoor exhibitor and agricultural trade show in Europe, was in excess of 283,000 over the three days, with visitors being drawn from every corner of the island of Ireland in addition to strong international support. The event attracted over 1700 exhibitors covering all aspect of rural life.


The British Livestock stand, located in the middle of the livestock area, was supported with breed information from 25 beef and 9 sheep breeds in addition to the National Sheep Association, the British Pig Association and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB).  The very wide range of genetic information available prompted favourable comments on how interesting the stand was; one farmer expressing a view that it was the most informative stand on the whole show field! 

 At the opening of the event ,the stand tables were groaning with promotional material, however by lunchtime on the 3rd day very little was left!  The object of the exercise being to raise the profile of what quality livestock genetics are available from the UK, leading to subsequent export business of semen, embryos and pedigree livestock.  On closure of the event, approaching 60 ‘Requests for Information’ forms had been completed giving a strong indication of the interest there is in British livestock genetics and the high regard in which it is perceived.

The stand was facilitated, on behalf of AHDB – Beef and Lamb, by John Fleming of ‘JF Professional Genetic Services’, ably supported by Gill Evans, an experienced pedigree breeder of many years standing.

The 2017 event will take place between the 19th and 21st September 2017 at the same venue.

 John Fleming





Record breaking sale averages, a world record price, an increase in Limousin market share, dominance of the summer and winter shows, and major progress with the Society’s ten-year breed improvement programme.  These were the upbeat headlines from British Limousin Cattle Society Chairman John Phillips in his second annual report to members published within the Society’s 2015 BLCS Annual Report and Accounts. 

Looking at the year as a whole, and the early months of 2016 Mr Phillips commented upon the economic challenges, change, and speculation for agriculture, the beef industry, and the United Kingdom as a whole with the consequences of the historical Brexit vote and what that will mean for the United Kingdom’s farmers.

“From a beef production perspective it would seem obvious that with the industry moving in a market driven direction that the focus must be full-square on efficiency and profitability.  Cattle with the genetics that convert food efficiently, hit the ideal slaughter weights at the youngest possible age, and have repeatable, quality carcases consistently hitting the target grades, will be in demand and will find reward.”

“Through 2015 and into this year there has been a significant and long term industry move to sourcing cattle at 15-16 months of age and weighing 350-365kg.  This brings into focus medium sized cows producing fast growing calves that are finished at this age and hit the spec. Retailers, which account for 86% of fresh beef sales in the UK, have made clear the size of cattle that they want and will pay less for beef from heavier carcases. “

“This change in market focus is one that I think 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.  The dynamic is already evident and has been a principle factor in the strong Limousin performance at bull and female sales in the year,” said Mr Phillips.

Also highlighted is the ongoing work in the Limousin long range Breed Improvement Plan which was launched in 2014 and is noted as being the central part of the Society’s forward technical work.  In early 2016 Limousin genomic breeding values had been produced for a range of carcase traits in what was a beef industry first for the UK.  Work is also reported as ongoing in the DEFRA funded feed efficiency project, within which Limousin is the featured breed, and most recently the Society has embarked on a further maternal traits project which it is expected will yield new female fertility and calf survival GEBVs.  These three projects in size are £1.5 Million, £1.75 Million, and £200,000 respectively and the Chairman John Phillips states that he is “proud that the Society is in a position, and has had the vision, to take part in this far sighted work.  The ongoing aim is to future-proof the breed and provide producers with cattle that are profitable and adaptable to meet current and changing markets,” he says.

The report highlights that this work and investment is what differentiates the Limousin breed in the eyes of producers, processors and retailers and will continue to grow market share and increase returns for breeders.  At the close of 2015 the Limousin breed was again confirmed as the UK’s leading beef breed, for the twentieth consecutive year, and with an increased number of Limousin sired passports with BCMS in the year. 

In commending his 2015 report, John Phillips congratulated all BLCS members who had contributed to another very strong performance for both the breed and the Society and he listed some of the main breed highlights and achievements from the year.


•             Limousin confirmed as the largest numerical beef breed in the UK for the twentieth year in a row and since passport records began.  486,680 Limousin sired passports issued, an increase of 2,299 on the year.

•             Pedigree Limousin registrations surpassed the 19,000 mark for the sixth year in a row.

•             The four year Limousin Carcase Traits project was completed and rolled out.

•             Work commenced in the DEFRA-funded feed efficiency project with Limousin as the main breed.

•             Limousin breed win 14 interbreeds at the summer show ‘majors’ for the second year in a row.

•             Six of the seven ‘major’ winter primestock shows were won by Limousin sired cattle including the ‘Grand Slam’ of English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh Winter Fairs.

•             UK all-breeds record average of £8,709 set at Carlisle up by £467 on the previous mark.

•             Trueman Jagger sold for a Limousin world record and all-breeds European & UK record price of 140,000gns (£147,000).


BLCS Honorary Treasurer Gary Swindlehurst reported that the core income areas of registrations, membership, and sales commission had been maintained at a very high level which was extremely pleasing in what he also described as ‘a challenging industry for pedigree and beef farmers.’

Commenting on the Society’s Breed Improvement Plan, Mr Swindlehurst said that £1 Million of investment had been ring fenced to achieve the ten breeding goals identified over a ten-year period.  “I reiterate that the long term aim of the Breed Improvement Plan is the development of high quality Limousin genetics to deliver significant increases in performance and profitability for pedigree and commercial beef farmers across the industry.

A summary of the main points of the 2015 financial year reported includes: 

Headline figures:

•             Total income for the period ended 31st December 2015 of £955,577.

•             Total expenditure was £861,882.

•             Income from birth registration fees levelled at £526,100. 

•             Sale commission for the year totalled £49,119.

•             The total net movement in funds on the year was £32,758

The Society’s investment portfolio is reported as continuing to perform well and in line with benchmark figures.  Within the report and accounts the level of funds carried forward in the year is shown as £2,704,616 which is up by £32,758. 

The 45th Annual General Meeting of the British Limousin Cattle Society was held on 15th September at the BLCS Offices, Concorde House, Leamington Spa.

Auckvale Bids 'Auf Wiedersehen' to Marquis & Marquess

WR Kemp & Sons have exported two Hereford bulls to Germany - Auckvale Marquis 1479M and Auckvale Marquess 1488L. They set off for Continental Europe on Sunday 21st August, after successfully completing various health requirements and associated paperwork.

They have been purchased by repeat customer Mr Giel Hermans from the region of Nimsreuland.

Auckvale Marquis 1479M (pictured) is an Auckvale Masterman 784E son and out of Auckvale Janet 917G whilst Auckvale Marquess 1488L is out Auckvale Peach 1173J and by Auckvale 157K Ribstone Lad 1131H.

Both 16-month-old bulls have a tremendous set of Performance Recorded Figures across the board, something which caught the eye of Mr Hermans. In particular, Marquis 1479M is in the Top 1% for Scrotal Size and has Terminal & Self Replacing Indexes in the Top 10% for the Hereford Breed.

Free 'Shop Window' at Irish Ploughing Match 20-22 September

The Export Department of AHDB Beef & Lamb, in conjunction with the British Livestock Genetics Consortium, are pleased to offer, once again, a free ‘Shop Window’ to Societies and Companies to facilitate the promotion of quality British Livestock Genetics at the 85th Irish National Ploughing Championships.  The event is being held, this year, at Screggan near Tullamore, Co. Offaly, in the centre of the Republic of Ireland.

The National Ploughing Championships, Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and trade show, saw the most successful event ever last year with an attendance of over 281,000, supported by over 1500 exhibitors.

Interested livestock companies and breed societies are invited to provide promotional leaflets and Herd/Year Books, for display on the stand, which will be located in the livestock area of the event.  Ireland is the UK’s nearest export market and as a consequence of the current exchange rates, the potential for business this year could not be better.  Details of enquirers will be taken during the show and forwarded to participants following the event.

For logistic reasons, stand literature is limited to approximately three boxes per Society (total approx 35kgs), a small quantity of a promotional item would add to the interest to the stand, should it be available, with everything being delivered, by Friday 9th September, to J F Professional Genetic Services, Fell View, Blencarn, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 1TX. 

If you are interested in taking up this opportunity to promote British Livestock Genetics, kindly confirm by email to John Fleming by Friday 26th August or call to to discuss the initiative further.  Last year the stand was supported by over 30 Societies and Companies.  
John Fleming
J F Professional Genetic Services
07768 468 634

Mastergen launches first online tailor-made bull brochures

Cattle genetics company, Mastergen, is leading the way for the breeding industry with the launch of the first tailor-made, downloadable bull brochures for every one of its customers.

The initiative comes at a time when farmers are confronted with more information than ever before, yet have less time available, making the business of sire selection increasingly difficult.

The service allows farmers to preselect groups of bulls, and then use a tick-box system to indicate those whose details they’d like in their brochure.

Preselection can be on a wide variety of traits, such as PLI, sexed semen, A2A2, BB kappa casein, bulls under £10, reds and red factor bulls, young genomic sires, spring calving grazing sires, or any one of the wide range of options available on the Mastergen website.

The farmer’s choices are then wrapped up in a personalised brochure, which can either be emailed to his computer or downloaded there and then, and also saved for later use.

“We are absolutely delighted to have developed this service which provides wins all round,” says Alison Dunphy, managing director of Mastergen. “The farmer not only has exactly the bulls he wants, but he can see them in an easy-to-view, brochure format showing every detail of each bull. This includes full type and production proofs as well as pedigree information – some with breeders’ or customer notes and sire analyst comments.

“In the past, he would have had a hefty, paper printed brochure, often of 100 or more pages, and many of the bulls featured would have been of no interest for his herd,” she says.

“There is substantial cost involved with printing these brochures which are published by most breeding companies three times a year, and the person picking up the cost will always be the farmer,” she says.

“The new system developed by Mastergen has virtually no cost involved, which is in keeping with our policy of operating a lean and straightforward service and passing the savings we make back to the farmer through our very competitive pricing.”

The launch of the online personalised brochures – which are available for both dairy and beef bulls – comes one year after the company first offered a postal version of the service, which was met with resounding approval.

“We had a huge thumbs-up last year for the postal version, particularly from farmers who are tired of the overwhelming weight of largely irrelevant material being received on the farm and are short of the time required to sift through the information,” she says. “We’re confident this logical next step will appeal even more amongst farmers of every generation whose time is at a premium.”

The brochures will be available to any Mastergen website user from 1 August, 2016 through There will be an online video for instructions on the home page or telephone assistance is available through the sales team on 01823 430317. The website and brochure service will be updated with new genetic indexes on 9 August, 2016. 

Sheep Event Attracts Overseas Visitors

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International Delegates from Germany, France, Macedonia,  Romania & Greece attended the National Sheep Association (NSA) Sheep Event held at Malvern, Worcestershire 26-27 July 2016. Supported by AHDB and British Livestock Genetics Consortium, the 40-strong group comprising sheep breeders, vets and breeding companies visited two farms on the first day and attended the pre-event gala dinner. A full day at the event itself presented the overseas visitors with the 'Best of British' sheep farming in terms of genetics, nutrition, health and technological innovation.

USDA Updates BSE Regulations

Positive News For UK Livestock Keepers

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has this week (20/07/2016) proposed updating its regulations regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), scrapie and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). 

As you may be aware, current USDA import regulations prohibit the importation of most live sheep and goats and their products into the US.  The proposed rule would reduce restrictions involving trade of sheep and goats and their products from countries where such imports are currently prohibited - this includes the UK and Ireland.  The publishing of the proposed rule is a significant first step in lifting the current restrictions.  The proposed rule is available for public inspection on the Federal Register page at:
Interested stakeholders can view the petition and submit comments at:!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0095
In a meeting with DEFRA this week, UKECP (UK Export Certification Partnership - discussed developing a joined-up UK-wide approach to submitting comments.

Bluetongue Vaccine Now Available to Farmers in Britain

Livestock keepers urged to talk to their vets about vaccinating animals

Bluetongue vaccines for sheep and cattle are now available across Britain, with supplies approved for use in vet practices.

There is a high risk of an outbreak of Bluetongue (BTV-8) towards the end of the summer as a result of infected midges being blown across the English Channel from France, where the disease is present. The disease affects all ruminants, but particularly cattle and sheep. It poses no threat to human health and does not affect meat, milk or other animal products.

Vaccination is the best way to protect Britain’s livestock, and farmers are being encouraged to talk to their vets to decide if the vaccine could help their businesses.

Government Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Simon Hall, said:

It’s fantastic news that the vaccine is now available. This is the perfect time to talk to your vet as the vaccine is the only effective tool to prevent illness.

I am urging our livestock farmers to keep an eye out for any signs of the disease and report any suspicions to their vet and the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately, so we can work together to reduce the possible spread of Bluetongue this summer.

The vaccination has to be given by injection twice (three weeks apart) in cattle and sheep, so it can take up to six weeks for the animal to be fully immune. Two companies, Zoetis and MSD, have announced that they are making a vaccine available in the UK.

Zoetis’s Zulvac 8 Bovis and Ovis vaccines are now available, with MSD Animal Health set to deliver its Bluevac BTV8, a single vaccine for both sheep and cattle, in the coming days. Both suppliers are confident there is enough vaccine to meet demand so that all farmers who wish to are able to vaccinate their animals now in GB.

The Government has robust disease surveillance procedures in place and is working closely with the Devolved Administrations and the livestock industry. Restriction zones are already in place in France, to control the spread of the disease. If BTV was found in Great Britain, similar measures such as movement restrictions would be put in place in line with the disease control strategies.

Farmers and vets who suspect bluetongue must report it immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301.

For more information on Bluetongue visit the Joint Campaign Against Bluetongue (JAB) pages of the National Farmers Union’s website.

Ukrainians Visit Livestock Event

J-P Garnier, M Kupriyanova, R Saunders

An Inward Mission of 15 Ukrainian farmers visited the Livestock Event at the NEC, Birmingham, 6-7 July 2016. Supported by UK Trade & Industry (UKTI) and accompanied by Mariya Kupriyanova, Deputy Head of Commercial Section, British Embassy, Kiev, the group met with Jean-Pierre Garnier & Richard Saunders (AHDB - Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board) and Chris Jackson (British Pig Association). Ukraine is a Priority One Market for the UK - along with India and Southern Africa. Annual production stands at 310,000t beef and 730,000t pork. An invitation was extended to the UK to take part in Grain Tech & Agro Animal Show to be held in Kiev 15-17 February 2017.

British Pigs Attract India Delegation

Inward Mission to the UK from the Punjab

A high-level delegation from the Punjab government has paid a visit to the UK to assess British pig production and genetics as the Indian state intends to develop its burgeoning pig sector.

The visit was organised by the British Pig Association in conjunction with AHDB Pork and included trips to pig breeding firms, a feed mill, an abattoir and AHDB Pork, where they were given presentations on the economics of the UK pork sector as well as pig health and welfare.

The visitors also went to APHA Weybridge and Kent University to look at research into pig breeding, including embryo transplant.

AHDB Pork senior export manager Jonathan Eckley said: “They are seeking our pig genetics and management systems as they want to improve productivity, welfare and product quality. Punjab has been taking the lead in the modernisation of Indian agriculture and already produces 76,000 tonnes of pork on a yearly basis.

“We also spent some time discussing the different production methods used in the UK and how these could be applied in Punjab.

“It was a very successful visit. The delegation went away with a huge amount of information which they will need to evaluate to determine which systems and practices best suit the conditions in India. Of course, all the pig breeding stock in India is of British origin.

“In addition to the requirement for breeding stock, training programmes and technical support were discussed during the visit.”

India is one of the markets AHDB Pork export is targeting; it has tremendous scope particularly in hotels, restaurants and Internet shopping. Meat consumption in India is increasing by 14% per year.

Issued by AHDB Pork 16/06/2016. AHDB Pork is the organisation for pig levy payers in England and is part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


New Company Selling Semen Direct From Stud

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

Pictured is a daughter of the Fleckvieh sire, Round Up, from Bayern Genetik, marketed by UK Sires Direct.

China Lifts Bovine & Ovine Export Ban

China has confirmed that it is lifting its import ban introduced 4 years ago on bovine and ovine genetic material from Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom due to Schmallenberg virus.

The decision – preceded with joint efforts of various Commission services and EU Member States - was announced by the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Minister HAN Changfu during the visit of EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to China this week (03/06/2016). The decision was announced by the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Minister HAN Changfu. The Commission welcomes the lifting of this ban that should now allow for real trade starting to take place rapidly and looks forward to seeing China opening its market for these safe products from the rest of the EU in the near future.

In May 2012, China introduced an import ban on imports of bovine semen, bovine embryos, ovine semen and ovine embryos produced after 1 June 2011 from several EU countries, referring to an alleged risk of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) which can cause birth defects and stillbirths in cattle, sheep and goats. This measure went beyond the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which considers that the virus does not meet the OIE requirements for setting an international standard, meaning therefore that trade measures for this disease are not required.

Welsh Black Cattle Establish New Foothold in Germany

Landmark Deal Sees 35 Head Exported

Welsh Black cattle have established a new foothold in Germany following the sale of 35 animals to a pair of breeders in Bavaria. Buyers Jan Janssen and Tamme Hanken placed their orders after touring Wales with a group of German breeders.

The majority of cattle were from the Cennen herd of Dai and Joan Francis, and sons Rhys and John, in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire. Another two heifers came from the Rhydygarnedd herd owned by Edward Williams, Dolaugwyn, Tywyn, Gwynedd.
The animals have now reached their new homes following blood tests and a period in quarantine with export technicalities arranged by Hexham-based Eggsport..

Anyone seeking Welsh Black breeding stock or germplasm should contact British Livestock Genetics Consortium

Livestock Event: sheep stepping up at NEC, Birmingham, 6-7 July

Sheep will be stepping up their presence at the Livestock Event to be staged at The NEC, Birmingham on 6 & 7 July. The section will be featuring some of the UK’s most progressive genetics whilst the National Lleyn Sheep Competition is returning for the third year showcasing the best of this commercial breed.

AHDB Beef and Lamb will be providing recommendations to producers as to how to meet carcase specifications to maximise lamb price as well as information to those looking to add value by selling direct to consumers. Guidance on the control and eradication of footrot, scald and CODD will also be available.  

A new four-in-one, hands-on demonstration will provide producers with wide ranging take-home advice to improve their flock’s overall performance, and feature the following:

·         Trace elements: what’s needed and why, plus bolus administration best practice.

·         EID and handling – how to reduce stress, maximise the kit’s potential and get to grips with EID compatible handling.

·         EID: how to make best use of the kit, not only for basic record keeping but also identifying the replacements, the culls and health and welfare issues.

·         Minimising needle damage: how to make clean and effective vaccinations to reduce needle injuries and subsequent infection, abscesses and disease transmission.

“Livestock Event 2016 is going to be all about sharing information, ideas and no nonsense practical advice to help all livestock farmers’ businesses to survive the next 18 months,” comments event director, Matt Knight. “With almost one third of our visitors farming sheep, we are pleased to extend our practical demonstrations to offer them the opportunity to take home some very practical and relevant advice to implement next day on the farm.”