Cork-based Grasstec is confirming a significant growth in demand for Irish bred dairy cows and heifers from its fast-evolving farmer-client base in the UK.

“Increasing numbers of dairy farmers in Britain are now looking at grass-based systems as a way of insulating them from the tremendous volatility that is associated with higher feed input options. In addition, there are also a growing number of beef and sheep farmers across the water now looking to get into milk,” Grasstec’s Bertie Troy told AgriLand.

“Significantly, both groups recognise the benefits of working with high EBI breeding stock from Ireland.

“As a consequence we are now providing a procurement and delivery service for milk producer clients in the UK. The strongest demand is for freshly calved heifers, which are fetching prices between €1,200 and €1,350 per head."

Troy went on to point out that the high fertility of Irish dairy cows, their ability to produce large volumes of milk from grazed grass and the animals’ exemplary health status are combining to make them a very attractive option for dairy farmers in Britain at the present time.

“Ireland’s commitment to eradicating BVD is a further plus factor in the UK market,” he commented.

“The reality is that the impact of TB and the associated culling of cows has left many British dairy farmers in the position that they cannot breed enough of their own replacements.

“The current Euro:Sterling exchange rate is also helping our cause, as is the new Rosslare – Fishguard ferry service, which facilitates the transport of animals to the South West of England,” he further explained.

“Our customers are interested in bringing across groups of animals, ranging in size from 10 to 40 head. They are not in the market for single animals. At Grasstec, we initially identify groups of relevant animals. Our clients will then come across to view the stock that have been earmarked for them. Grasstec staff do not get involved in agreeing the price paid for the animals. We levy a flat rate per animal, which is paid by both the vendor and the purchaser. Grasstec will also co-ordinate the transport of the purchased stock to Britain.”

Troy continued: “Issues that will prevent the export of stock to the UK are tail docking and proximity to calving, in the case of heavily pregnant heifers and young cows.  We are predicting a further increase in demand for breeding stock over the coming months. As a consequence we are currently looking to expand our supplier base."

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