Ai Services (Northern Ire-land) Ltd has enjoyed a 50 per cent increase in exports of beef semen over the past 18 months.
The company has 30 elite beef sires standing at its Ballycraigy stud in south Antrim.
“The export demand for beef semen has been driven by the growing use of sexed semen within the dairy industry throughout the UK and beyond,” confirmed Ai Services’ breeding services’ manager Ivan Minford.
“We have recorded a strong growth in demand from customers throughout GB.
“A recent order from Denmark for Aberdeen-Angus semen highlights the potential to further push sales of beef semen into Europe.”
Ivan made his comments at the Press launch of the company’s 2021 Beef Sire catalogue.
The past 12 months have seen Ai Services purchase seven new bulls, semen from which is now commercially available.
Ivan continued: “We have always carried out calving surveys on all our new bulls. And this will also be the case in terms of the sires featuring in our beef catalogue for the first time in 2021.
“The information secured by way of the surveys is extremely valuable. First off, it is totally independent in nature.
“I would like to thank all our customers who have taken the time to fill-in and submit the calving survey forms to Ai Services.
“The availability of the calving survey data has been very important in securing valuable export opport-unities for our beef semen.”
The newly acquired bulls, featuring in the 2021 Beef Sires’ catalogue for the first time, are:
H W Grenade
This more than impressive Aberdeen-Angus bull has an impressive growth and muscling index. He is a smooth fleshing sire with excellent muscling. Grenade is suitable for breeding suckler replacements. He should be used only on cows until such times as a detailed calving survey has been completed.
Another new Aberdeen-Angus bull for Ai Services, he is bred from a successful and proven cow family. Highway has tremendous terminal and maternal indices. He is suitable for breeding suckler replacements. But, again, Highway should be used only on cows until such times as a detailed calving survey has been completed.
An exceptional British Blue bull, he displays exceptional length and muscling. Ned has excellent EBVs for growth and overall index. Ned is in the top 1% of the British Blue breed for carcase profitability. He should be used only on cows until such times as a detailed calving survey has been completed.
This young Charolais bull combines performance with style and shape. He has an exceptional eye muscle and retail beef values. Paris has top 5% EBV values, where his terminal and replacement indices are concerned. He should be used only on cows until such times as a detailed calving survey has been completed.
Graceland 1 Silas
This exciting Hereford sire combines style, shape and performance. Silas was the top prices bull at the Spring 2021 Hereford sale. He has well above average figures for growth and muscling. Silas should be used only on cows until such times as a detailed calving survey has been completed.
This outstanding Salers’ sire displays outstanding breed character with good muscling and hindquarter development. Oscar’s sire is a consistent breeder of quality stock.
Purchased at a recent Limousin sale for 4800gns, Pochettino is an excellent example of the breed. Semen from the bull will be available later in the summer.
Of the seven bulls featuring in the 2021 Beef Sires’ catalogue, six were bred locally. The seventh, Grenade, was bred in Scotland.
Woodpark Paris was bred by Mr Will Short from Beragh, Omagh, County Tyrone; Chatham Ned was bred by Jim Morrison & Son, from Carrowreagh, Armoy, County Antrim; Graceland 1 Silas was bred by Robin Irvine, from Whitecross in County Armagh;
Drumhill Lord Highway was bred by Jonathan and Lisa Doyle, from Cookstown in County Tyrone; Drumlegagh Oscar was bred by Mr John Elliott Newtownstewart, County Tyrone; while Slieve Pochettino was bred by S J McGeehan, Fivemiletown County Tyrone.
“This speaks volumes for the standards being achieved by pedigree beef breeders in Northern Ireland at the present time,” Mr Minford stressed.
The Ai Services’ representative is also confirming that suckler cow numbers have stabilised in Northern Ireland.
He said: “Increasing numbers of suckler producers are now using fixed time Ai programmes on their herds.
“This approach is allowing them to use a greater selection of proven sires on their cows.
“Conception rates of between 50 per cent and 65 per cent can be expected from this approach.”