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    Export Opportunities Open up for UK Aberdeen-Angus Cattle

Aberdeen-Angus breeders are setting their sights on the export market when EU export restrictions are lifted this spring.

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The re-opening of the export market represents the “greatest opportunity for the Aberdeen-Angus breed” for 10 years, incoming president, Nigel Hammill, Pyegreave Farm, Coalpit Lane, Langley, Macclesfield, Cheshire, told the annual general meeting of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society at Perth on Sunday (February 5).

A German delegation arrived in Perth over the week-end for the breed’s two-day show and sale at Perth Agricultural Centre and the Society plans to promote the breed later this year at major international shows in Germany, Poland and Romania.

“I’m confident this year will see a resurgence in exports of Aberdeen-Angus cattle,” said Mr Hammill. “The demand is there but a strong marketing effort will be required to secure those markets.”

Already all 24 EU countries and seven non-EU countries were open to embryo exports from the UK and 53 countries to semen exports. It was hoped that the lifting of export restrictions on British beef, expected within the next two months, would open the way for the resumption of live cattle exports.

But Mr Hammill warned that prising open these markets would not be easy because of rigorous animal health requirements relating to diseases such as TB, BSE, Johnes, BVD, Leptospirosis and especially IBR.

Retiring president, John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso, Roxburghshire, who attended the World Aberdeen-Angus Forum in South Africa last April and visited several European countries during his presidential year, said exciting export opportunities were opening up for Aberdeen-Angus herds which could meet the health, genetic and phenotype requirements of buying countries.

Mr Elliot said the Aberdeen-Angus breed was on the crest of the wave with registrations in the Herd Book at the highest level in the breed’s history.

“The performance of our cattle, market penetration and brand recognition has never been higher,” said Mr Elliot. “As our market orientation and the quality of our product continues to improve, coupled with the effectiveness of our genetic evaluation, the breed will continue to march onwards and upwards.”

Mr Elliot appealed to all breeders to join the Society’s Breedplan performance recording scheme.

“Around 70% of our herds are performance recorded and I would urge the other 30% to get on board,” said Mr Elliot. “The buyers of our cattle are looking for performance information and it is imperative that we remain customer focused.”

Registrations of Aberdeen-Angus cattle in the UK and Ireland reached a new peak of 11,096 in Volume 129 of the Herd Book and membership of the Society is now 2235, with 220 new members joining during the year.

The Society achieved a surplus of income over expenditure of £59,048 the year to October 31, 2005, compared with £60,966 the previous year. Reserves have increased from £926,368 to a record £1,029,256.

The Society’s new senior vice-president is Colin Davidson, Skaill, Sandwick, Orkney. New junior vice-president is John Coultrip, Wingfield Farm, Eastling, Faversham, Kent.

Four new members were elected to the Society’s Council - Euan Forbes, Lochdhu, Nairn; Jim Logan, Pirntaton, Galashiels; Peter Turnbull, York; and Alex McLaren, The Warren, Croughton, Brackley, Northants.

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