Montbeliarde prices here boosted by sales surge in UK

Caitriona Murphy

MONTBELIARDE prices in Ireland have been boosted by an upsurge in the breed's popularity in Britain.

"Sales of stock in early 2012 were up, following on from a good 2011," says Montbeliarde Society spokesperson Angela Lacey. "The breed is taking off at an immense pace in England, with buyers sourcing a lot of their stock from Ireland."

In calf heifers made in excess of €2,000/hd this spring, while calves sold well throughout the year. Young bull calves sold for in excess of €400/hd and heifer calves for breeding sold for in excess of €500. Demand for pedigree bulls is also up on last year.

"Prices for stock have been very good, as the breed is known for its excellent fertility, great production, high fat and protein content," says Ms Lacey. "The Montbeliarde also has low cell count, good longevity, good feet, legs and udders."

Other factors driving the breed's popularity are higher calf and cull cow values, good temperament and the breed's suitability for crossbreeding.

The society points to recent trials carried out in California, USA, using Holstein, Holstein x Montbeliarde and Scandinavian Red x Holstein cows, in which the Holstein x Montbeliarde came out on top on for milk production, protein, pregnancy rate and survival at calving.

"Most importantly, the cross came out on top for profit per day and lowest on somatic cell count," says Ms Lacey.

The US studies follow trials in the Netherlands that used Montbeliarde semen on both red and white, and black and white breeds. At the end of a five-year trial on low-cost farming, pure Montbeliardes made significantly more profit per year.

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Montbeliarde herd owners visiting the Ploughing Championships should make a beeline for the society's stand where they can buy pedigree herd road signs to advertise the breed at their farm entrances. Branded Montbeliarde jackets are also available.

Current and potential new members are invited to drop into Stand 140, Block 6, Row E for more information about the breed and buying or selling Montbeliarde stock.

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