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More heifers bound for Kazakhstan

The export of pedigree Angus and Hereford maiden heifers to the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan is to be extended to stock from Charolais and Limousin herds.

Roscommon livestock exporter Micheál Maxwell confirmed this week that he plans to ship 300 Charolais cattle to the Asian republic next month, while 350 Limousin heifers are to be exported in February.

A series of breeder meetings have been held over the past 10 days to assess the level of farmer interest in the export plan.

Three more meetings are scheduled for the coming week. These will take place in the Headford Arms, Kells, Co Meath, tonight, Raheen Woods, Athenry tomorrow evening, and the final one in Macroom on Thursday.

Mr Maxwell said there had been a very good reaction from the Kazakh buyers to the Irish stock which they bought this year.

"The Kazakhs are very happy with the Irish cattle. They are rugged animals; they have adapted well to the climate," he said.

Up to 1,300 animals were shipped to Kazakhstan this year and Mr Maxwell predicted that this figure will be exceeded next year.

The standard of Limousin and Charolais stock being sought by Mr Maxwell was similar to the Angus and Herefords bought for the market this year.

"We are not looking for the very best pedigree stock. What we want are purebred heifers that are good straight cattle," Mr Maxwell said.

All the stock must be from herds which have been clear of brucellosis and TB for at least three years. In addition, the heifers must be vaccinated for BVD and IBR.

All the cattle will be bought off farm, with the stock being held in quarantine for at least 24 days on the Maxwell holding in Roscommon.

The cattle are bound for very large beef units in Kazakhstan, Mr Maxwell said.

"They are out on big areas of grazing for the summer and are housed and on maize for the winter," he added.

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