Hereford heifers find outlet in Kazakhstan

Caitriona Murphy

Some 200 pedigree Hereford heifers have been exported this year to Kazakhstan, with a further 240 currently in quarantine and ready for export in the next two weeks.

Added to the 500 Herefords already shipped in 2011 by Hubert Maxwell & Co, the market in Kazakhstan has become a major success and a valuable outlet for the breed.

However, the Hereford success is not limited to eastern Europe, with strong domestic demand matching that of the shippers.

The 2012 spring sales saw a full clearance of bulls at many sales, while farm-to-farm sales also improved on 2011. Much of this demand originated in dairy herds, but there is also increasing demand from beef suckler herds seeking to supply the various successful and expanding Hereford beef schemes.

Hereford cross heifer calves and maiden heifers are also becoming a popular choice to use as replacements within the suckler herd.

The recent launch of Certified Hereford beef as part of the Lidl "Deluxe" range of products, in association with Slaney Foods, and the launch of the "Glenslieve Hereford" product in association with the Foyle Group at Omagh have been well received by Hereford producers.

New beef producers are urgently required to fulfil these new contracts, which will be a significant talking point at the Ploughing Championships.

The Irish Hereford Prime/ABP initiative has been hugely successful since its inception, winning many domestic and international awards. This brand continues to thrive and provide valuable outlets for Hereford producers.

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Given the soaring cost of grain, soya and concentrate feed, the Hereford's ability to thrive and finish on grass has never been so important to farmers.

This grass-finishing ability will be a topic of discussion at the Hereford Society/Hereford Prime stand at this year's Ploughing. Hereford Prime beef will be on display and available from the catering unit.

Other attractions will include a number of stock bulls on display for visitors to enter a 'guess the weight' competition.

Meanwhile, Ireland and Munster rugby hero John 'The Bull' Hayes will be on hand to sign copies of his new book. Hayes is both a fan of and a supplier to Hereford Prime beef.

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