Scawfell Genetics Ltd is Expanding
British-bred sheep were the star attraction at Indagra, Romanian's largest agriculture show attended by 60,000 visitors in Bucharest 25-29 October 2017.
Supported by AHDB & the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG), the British Livestock marquee exhibited two British Charollais (2 ram lambs) and six Suffolks (1 shearling ram and 5 ewe lambs) from Robert Gregory's Edstaston flock, Shrewsbury and Jim & Irene Fowlie's Essie flock, Aberdeen respectively.
This strong British presence included Carroll & Jonathan Barber (CST performance Ram Marketing), Jean-Pierre Garnier, Export Manager AHDB together with Richard Saunders & Henry Lewis representing BLG.
With an important sheep sector (10 million ewes), Romanian sheep farmers are looking for breeds which produce quick-growing, fast-finishing lambs with the ability to add muscle and increase lambing percentage when crossed onto local sheep like the indigenous Turcana.
This year’s World Dairy Expo did not disappoint those members of Holstein UK who made the journey across to Madison, USA. The cattle on show did justice to the breed and to those responsible for their day-to-day management, along with the team who presented them so well in the various classes.
The British presence was aided this year via a UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) grant scheme which allowed a small group of members to attend to promote the genetics of the breed and their own herds. Under the banner of British Livestock Genetics, a number of prefixes stood alongside industry organisationsto allow focused discussions around how and why British genetics can compete on the world stage. All attendees under the grant scheme came away with leads into differing marketplaces to allow further discussions once back on home soil.
Taking a stand space leading into the International Lounge allowed interactions with both North American attendees and those who had travelled a little further to the event. The event's 'daily paper' quoted upwards of 70 countries being in attendance across the 5 days of the show, making this an ideal shop window for Holstein UK, its activity, the breed and members.
U.S-BASED S.T. GENETICS HAS BECOME THE MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER IN THE U.K'S LARGEST BULL STUD COGENT BREEDING LIMITED
Worldwide livestock reproduction and bovine technology business S.T. Genetics of Texas, U.S.A has become the majority shareholder in the UK's largest bull stud, Cogent Breeding Ltd.
Cogent will provide S.T. with a strong platform in the UK and Europe providing new routes to market and a creating a powerhouse of industry knowledge, technology and resources.
In turn, S.T Genetics will provide significant benefits to Cogent, in particular: world-class bull power including the number one PLI bull in the UK; new-generation sexed semen machines and processes; genomic testing and mating programmes and access to new and innovative bovine reproduction technology.
Juan Moreno, CEO of S.T. genetics, said: "We are delighted to announce that S.T. Genetics has become the majority owner of Cogent. S.T. will now have access to new routes to market in the UK and Europe and greater understanding of them. For Cogent, S.T's resources mean it will become a global leader in the industry and deliver a truly enhanced offering to clients."
S.T. is no stranger to Cogent; it has a longstanding relationship as Cogent pioneered the commercialisation of sexed semen and was the first licensee of S.T's sexing technology.
Whilst there is a change in ownership, Cogent will continue to operate as a separate business maintaining its own proud identity, brand and culture.
Mark Roach, Managing Director of Cogent, who will continue in the role, said: "This exciting development with S.T. Genetics, one of the market's leading players, will enhance Cogent's customer offering; founded on its strong brand, expertise and customer service with the integration of top quality genetics, technology and global reach.
"This is a very exciting and significant development in the future of the business which will help us fulfil our vision 'to be a world leader in the improvement of dairy and beef genetics'."
Cogent Breeding is the UK's largest bull stud. Based on the commercial requirements of today's dairy farmer, Cogent has successfully developed a breeding programme founded on production, type, reliability and new technologies such as sexed semen.
‘British Livestock’ Stand At Irish Ploughing Championship 19-21 September 2017 Roars Into Life at 8am on First Day!!
The ‘British Livestock Genetics’ stand, was packed with interest, from 8 am on the first day of this, the largest outdoor exhibitor and agricultural trade show in Europe, with approaching 80% of all literature being snapped up by the end of the second day.
The attendance, over the three day event, was a record breaking 291,500, with visitors being drawn from every corner of the island of Ireland, in addition to strong international visitor support; the event attracting over 1700 trade exhibitors, covering all aspect of rural life. This was in addition to over 250 acres of competition ploughing, involving the most modern and biggest reversible’s to horses and vintage classes, with 300 competitors taking part.
The ‘British Livestock Genetics’ stand, located in the middle of the livestock area, was supported with breed information from 20 beef and 9 British sheep Societies and breeders.
The very wide range of genetic information available proved of great interest to visitors; needless to say the subject of ‘Brexit’ was as never far from people’s minds and its implication for beef and sheep trade between the UK and Ireland.
This, the 86th Irish National Ploughing Championships, was held near Tullamore, about 60 miles due west of Dublin, in the heart of the Irish Midlands. The stand was organised in conjunction with the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG) and the export department of AHDB – Beef and Lamb; the objective of this, British presence, at Ireland’s premier agricultural event, being to raise the profile of quality British livestock genetics and to generate trade.
The stand was organised, on behalf of the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG), by John Fleming of ‘JF Professional Genetic Services’, ably supported by Gill Evans, an experienced pedigree breeder of many years standing.
A TOTAL of 87 Galloways and Belted Galloways have been exportedin one of the biggest ever deals to Spain, writes Bobby Geddus.
It follows a visit to Scotland and the North of England by Mike Harding and his Spanish wife who are setting up a herd of Galloways. Thirty six of the Galloway heifers were shipped out last week from the famous Klondyke Herd atShancastle Farm at Moniaive. The couple have purchased in total 12 Belted Galloways and a bull as well as 73 black Galloways and a bull.
One of the two Galloway bulls comes from John and Ann Finlay at Blackcraig, Corsock.
Scott McKinnon, farm manager at Shancastle who runs one of the biggest Galloway herds in the country, said the heifers were aged between 17and 23 months.
“It’s great for the GallowayBreed and for us. We’re delighted to be involved in this export deal. The couple were over here and visited various herds before making their purchases.
“Half of them were sent by float from here and the other part of the consignment was from herds on the eastern side of the country.”
The couple have two farms, or Dehesas as they are called in Spain, which use the old ecosystem farming method traditionally employed in two regions of Spain, Extremadura and Salamanca.
Mike said: “We are in Salamaca not far from the Portuguese border, where there are hot summers and cold (-8C) winters.
“We have one farm of around 280 hectares with 200+ head of breeding females of Spanish Avileñas, a traditional Spanish pedigree breed, half of which we are crossing with Japanese Wagyu.
“Our plan is to phase out of Avileña in the coming years and hopefully switch to Galloway completely. The Avileña produces good beef but it’s a more difficult animal to manage and handle.”
He added: “"Dehesa de Olmillos" is the Main farm where the Galloways are going to live. Here we have 275 hectares with 3km of river frontage, and where we are putting into place rotational pastures to complement the traditional Dehesa system.
“We have brought in a total of 87 animals this first trip, 43 are already at the farm settling down, (six of these are Belties). We have put these in a pasture next to 30 Angus females so they don’t feel too far away from home!”
The couple have purchased in total 12 belted Galloways and a bull as well as 73 black Galloways and a bull.
From this first batch, they will be keeping about 25 black Galloway as pure and intend to build up the herd by breeding/buying in more Galloways over the course of the next few years.
“Our intention is to establish the Galloway breed here at both our farms, both Black and Belted and to establish a market for the beef.
“In addition we want to integrate other local farms into the programme, sell them females and get them breeding and selling into the market we create.
“It’s a long term plan but we are committed to the breed and its characteristics. We think it will adapt well to the conditions here and we are confident the meat quality will set it apart in this market.”
Mike went on: “The rest of the Galloways will be crossed with Wagyu.
We chose the Galloway heifers as the base female for their obvious great characteristics which we believe will make a better cross than the typical Angus or Holstein that other breeders are using for Wagyu F1 production.”
The first ever consignment of Hampshire Down sheep from the UK to set foot on Spanish soil has arrived in Valencia, reports the Farmers Guardian on 15.09.2017. The sheep were part of a larger shipment of 17 Hampshire Downs, most of which were exported to France, from the Pembrokeshire-based Maes-Glas flock. Established by Eirlys & Barry Jones and their son, Stuart, in 1995, purchaser was Pablo Torres Domingo.
Generic Hampshire Down photo courtesy of the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association www.hampshiredown.org.uk
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suitable cattle up to 8 months of age.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Limousin Research Creating New Opportunity in Suckler Herds
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 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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’’.
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.
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.
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.
That afternoon, the group travelled to the Cotswolds and met with Aubrey & Sue Andrews who run the Miserden Texel & Blue Texel flocks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grateful thanks go to all the farms and premises visited as well as for the generous hospitality of all the hosts.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Hosting the visit were Uwe Burmeister, Karl Olschewski & Doerte Baumbach.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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’.
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’.
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.
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.
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.'
Please click below for the Spring 2017 edition of the Livestock & Genetics Exports Bulletin highlighting recent export successes as well as promotion undertaken to further the export of British livestock and genetics to overseas markets. For further information, please call Richard Saunders on 07901768904.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.