Ulster Blues - Germany Bound!

by Rodney Magowan

British Blue Cattle genetics from one of the top herds in Ulster are bound for Germany where farmers are combating rising production costs by using the premier terminal sire breed to boost meat yields.

Basil Dougherty of the Greenfield Pedigree British Blue Herd at Kircubbin, Co Down filled this exciting export order for Embryo Transfers from his award winning cow Greenfield Twinkle.

This long, tall cow born in 2001 was Northern Ireland Blue Cattle Club brood cow in the 2009 herd competition. Twelve months earlier Twinkle’s daughter was judged NI British Blue heifer of the year.

Bulls out of Greenfield Twinkle have proved equally successful selling to 5000gns in 2006 at the famous Borderway Mart, Carlisle.

Basil revealed that the German buyer first made contact with a view to obtaining Greenfield Twinkle after viewing her and her Breedplan figures on the British Blue Cattle Society website.

“My French is reasonable, but my German is non existent, however we were able to conduct business by e mail where the computer translates from German to English and visa versa,” Bails explained.

“This buyer had no interest in colour, nor any preference for white, blue or black examples of the breed. His saw in Greenfield Twinkle a long, tall cow with figures showing an easy calving trait from a proven line in our herd, including the Balmoral 2007 champion bull out of Greenfield Twinkle’s grand dam.”

Founded 20 years ago on the family farm on the Ards Peninsula Greenfield British Blues have a track record of success not only in pedigree shows, but in producing stock that add value to calves from both dairy and suckler herd.

For example a Blue sired carcass out of a good shaped suckler cow will usually kill out at 62% and a U+2 grade. This carcass will then bone out leaving 78% saleable meat, an extra 65 plus kilos compared to a traditionally bred R3 animal.

A real British Blue bonus increasingly attracting buyers from as far afield as Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Australia and Chile.

Commenting Basil Dougherty said that over the decades since the breed arrived from Belgium the modern British Blue had been selected to suit our grass based beef business with easy calving, docile temperament and short gestation period key breed characteristics.

“The British Blue is a pleasure to work with either purebred or as a cross and leaves extra cash in the pocket, the best breed trait of all!” added Basil.

The export of these Greenfield Blue embryos from the UK to Germany was handled by specialist vets at Paragon ET.