The new year is off to a positive start for three Simmental breeders located in countries Antrim and Tyrone, with the successful export of two cows and calves, five heifers and one young bull to Simmental breeders in Switzerland and Germany.
The deal, featuring the Slievenagh, Omorga and Hiltonstown herds, follows on from a sale in July 2020 involving 11 Northern Ireland (NI)-bred Simmental cattle.
This latest export deal was struck with three repeat customers and a new buyer, and affirms what is being described as "an upsurge in international demand for genetics from high-health status herds in Northern Ireland”.
Robin Boyd from the Portglenone-based, 30-cow Slievenagh Herd is the British Simmental Cattle Society’s World Simmental and Fleckvieh Federation representative and was one of three breeders, who shipped pedigree cattle to the continent last week.
Commenting, he said: "We are delighted to announce another significant export of pedigree Simmental cattle to Switzerland and Germany.
"The breed was first imported to NI in 1971 and, last year, as the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club celebrated its 50th anniversary, we were brokering a deal to export 10 Simmental cattle to the breed’s native homeland,” he explained.
“The dual-purpose Simmental is one of the more influential breeds in the UK, offering both superior terminal and maternal traits.
"This latest export is testimony to the quality and consistency of NI-bred cattle, and gives breeders in Germany and Switzerland an opportunity to tap into new bloodlines from proven bulls and cow families.
“It is very pleasing to see that the majority of the cattle are going to satisfied customers Felix Tobler, Christian Bunde and Mario Walther, and new buyer Markus Rahn.“
The initial export almost 18 months ago was initiated by Flex Tobler, and his son, Joel, from Chapelle in Switzerland, who had visited the UK and NI to participate in stock-judging competitions organised by the Simmental Young Members’ Association.
Their enthusiasm fuelled a growing interest in local cattle, which resulted in visits from prospective buyers in October 2019 and January 2020.
The Tobler family were the first-ever herd owners to import cattle, of any breed, from NI to Switzerland.
Felix and Joel Tobler took delivery of five animals carrying the Boyd family’s Slievenagh prefix.
The consignment included the three-year-old cow, Slievenagh Klassy Lady an Omorga Isaac daughter, bred from Slievenagh Faith VG85, whose maternal grand-dam Slievenagh Madonna bred the 20,000gns Perth reserve supreme champion Slievenagh Talisman (November 2007).
This young cow was accompanied by her polled eight-month-old Coose Jericho bull calf.
The March 2019 Slievenagh Krystal was sired by Shacon Hannibal, one of the most influential sires at the society’s recent Next Generation Sale in Carlisle.
Her dam is the Kilbride Farm Bantry daughter, Slievenagh Emmylou EX90.
Included in the deal was Krystal’s eight-week-old heifer calf Slievenagh Monica, a daughter of home-bred stock bull, Slievenagh Kildare.
Also selling to Felix Tobler was the yearling heifer, Slievenagh Molly.
She is a polled daughter of Dermotstown Delboy, and a twin heifer bred from first calver Slievenagh Jasmine.
This heifer’s maternal grandam, Slievenagh Buttercup EX90, was the UK’s first 'Golden Cow' in the new register launched by the society in 2019.
The Bunde family from Drewitz in Germany, purchased the 2020-born heifers Slievenagh Lottie and Slievenagh Lily (P).
Lottie was second in a strong class for autumn-born heifers in the NI Simmental Club’s virtual show last year.
She was sired by Omorga Murray, and is out of the Kilbride Farm Bantry daughter Slievenagh Goddess, which hails from the Madonna female line.
Lily is by Slievenagh Justthejob, a home-bred homozygous polled son of Kilbride Farm Glenhead. Her dam is Slievenagh Iris from the noted Omorga Daffodil family.
Mario Walther from Frankfurt, Germany, bought two Curaheen Gunshot progeny from the Moore family’s 40-cow Omorga prefix.
Both nine months of age, Omorga Midnight (P) is bred from the Kilbride Farm Bantry daughter Omorga Fanny; while the bull Omorga Moses (P) is bred from Curaheen Dell.
Walther has previously purchased from the Omorga Herd, in 2020.
Richard and Rhys Rodgers from Portglenone, Co. Antrim, were also part of the 2020 export deal and, this time, sold a heifer to German customer, Markus Rahan.
The March-2020 Hiltonstown Lindsay was sired by the 2014 and 2015 Balmoral Show champion Dertmotstown Delboy, and is out of the home-bred dam Hiltonstown Grace VG88 – one of 35 cows in the herd.
The export was facilitated by livestock haulier Martin O’Neill, with the journey from NI via Rosslare and Cherbourg, taking almost three days.