THREE bulls and eight heif-ers have been exported to Switzerland from the Omorga and Hiltonstown herds. This is a first for any pedigree cattle being exported to Switzerland from Northern Ireland.
In 1970 the first importation of 254 Simmentals to the UK from Switzerland arrived on UK shores at Lowestoft, Suffolk. At the same time, AI companies were visiting Germany to select sires for use in the UK.
These were the first seeds sown that have since developed into the Simmental being one of the most influential beef breeds in the UK beef industry over the past 50 years.
The recognised quality and development of the breed in the UK has now seen an export of three pedigree bulls and eight heifers to the breed’s native homelands and breeders in Switzerland and Germany respectively.
From the Omorga herd of Mr H J W & J C Moore, Omagh, one bull and three heifers have been purchased by Felix Tobler, Chapelle (Broye), Switzerland. A further Omorga bull and two heifers have gone to Christian Bunde, Drewitz, Germany, with one Omorga heifer being sold to Mario Walther, Frankfurt, Germany.
One bull and two heifers from the Hiltonstown herd of Richard Rodgers, Portglenone, have also
been sold to Felix Tobler, Switzerland. In another first, the
export marks the first time pedigree cattle of any breed have been exported to Switzerland from Northern Ireland.
All eleven animals have been exported and arrived safely at their new homes earlier this week. The cattle were delivered through Andrew Ewing, Livestock Export hauliers, with the export taking five days in all, including two 24 hour stops at Dumfries and then again in Belgium.
The interest in British Simmental was initiated through trips to the UK by Felix Tobler with his son Joel, who was participating in Young Simmental Breeder stockjudging competitions.
A growing interest at the same time by a German breeders’ group saw a combined group of some 30 breeders visit a number of Northern Irish herds in October of last year. A smaller follow-up group returned in January to identify the cattle that they wanted and agreement was quickly reached.
Extensive homework saw animals purchased to different criteria but a principle attraction was the choice and quality on offer, along with the entirely new bloodlines that could be introduced to the respective herds. Emphasis was placed on easy fleshed cattle that had shape, muscle, and milk combined with growth potential. There was also interest in polled cattle.
Commenting, Richard Rodgers of the Hiltonstown herd said: “We are delighted to have achieved this export sale and throughout the process the Swiss and German breeders involved have been a pleasure to work with. They’ve purchased some good cattle and I trust that they will go on to do well for them.”
Asked about the significance of this sale of British Simmentals back to their native homeland countries, and in what is the 50th year of the breed in the UK, Diane Moore of the Omorga herd said: “After 50 years of farming and breeding, British Simmental is a unique breed in its own right, full of quality and the demonstrable traits of economic importance that bring profitability to beef producers.
“You think Simmental and you think of efficient and profitable beef production from grass. The mix of muscle, growth, milk and maternal traits adds up to profit and I think there’s a bright future for British Simmental breeding and genetics in the UK and overseas markets.”
The export sale comes at a time when the society has reported a flurry of export enquiries for semen and genetics from mainland and Eastern Europe, and North America.
Both the Hiltonstown and Omor-ga herds would like to extend their thanks to the Ewing family, Dumbretton Farm, Dumfries, for
arranging the transport, and DAERA Veterinary Service for all of its help.