20,000 UK Heifers On The Way To Russia

FARMING UK - A National Beef Association delegation to last week's Agrofarm exhibition in Moscow has confirmed massive demand for UK breeding cattle – initial orders could cover 200,000 females.
calendar icon 27 June 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

But the Russian government has still to agree the format for an export health certificate so firm orders cannot yet be taken.

"Russian enthusiasm for specialist UK livestock and semen exceeded all expectations. The interest in beef cattle tended to be general rather than specific but they were keen on Simmental, Hereford and Angus and there were also pointed enquiries about Charolais, Highland and Dexter," reported NBA policy advisor, Kim Haywood, who led the trade visit.

"Russia is re-building its national cattle herd and re-stocking agents are ready to pay a premium well above prices currently paid by EU export buyers as they set out to secure suitable stock."

"These agents represent specific regions in Russia and intend to lease the cattle back to emerging farmers in a package that includes personnel to cover management, nutrition, and breeding as well individuals with husbandry and AI skills."

However talks between the NBA, Defra, MLC, the Russian government and the British Ambassador have already moved the adoption of an animal health certificate forward.

"It is frustrating to know that orders for tens of thousands of cattle are currently blocked by the absence of certification but the Ambassador plans to meet Russian government agriculture officials within the next two weeks," said Ms Haywood.

"Russian import agents are also putting pressure on their government and have organised the meetings at which they will do this."

"The NBA's view is that as soon as importation and other business arrangements between the UK and Russia, which could include investment partnerships based on cattle deliveries, are confirmed import certification will quickly follow."

"There are hopes a cattle semen certificate will be agreed by the end of the year. The EU health certificate requires the farm of origin never to have had a BSE case but the authorities may be persuaded that a set date for BSE herd freedom, similar to the post-August 1996 requirement for the export of UK beef within the EU, will be acceptable and a 2002 cut off date is being discussed."

"The huge demand for cattle genetics in Russia encourages export optimism and should give support for continued growth in the UK's cattle breeding sector. Russia's steak market is not yet developed and there is untapped demand for top class beef in Moscow alone."

"This trade visit was an overwhelming success. Immediate collective orders for UK cattle are there to be taken and such is the interest in UK beef genetics it is virtually certain that as soon as these are supplied other orders will follow," Ms Haywood added.

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