The following is the SDHBS press release regarding the recent promotion of the South Devon breed in the Far East.
SOUTH DEVON’S GO TO THE FAR EAST
South Devon cattle semen has been sent to Thailand in what is believed to be the first consignment of beef semen from the UK.
Semen from Shropshire bull Haughton SAS Joe Louis 1 bred by Bill Sandford along with Trewint Henry bred by Cornish breeder Peter Rowe was sent at the start of this year. It is part of a promotion drive in Thailand, a country with a large cattle industry but very little genetics from outside its own borders.
This venture is the result of several years work by South Devon cattle breeder Richard Hartshorn from Telford in Shropshire. Richard has travelled around the rural areas of Thailand on sponsored trips to do some free English teaching and become aware of the need for new genetics in cattle while on these trips. The rural areas are very poor and cattle are a prized possession and can make the difference between a decent living or not for the farmers. However the cattle are generally very poor quality as there has been very little progress in breeding over the years.
South Devon cattle are all over the world and can cope with the cold of Canada in the winter to the outback of Australia in the summer, so the adaptability to all weathers will help the breed in Asia. The semen arrived just in time for the VIV Asia 2009, an agricultural exhibition in Bangkok that is for the whole of Asia. The fact the semen was actually available was a big plus for the visitors to the show who where interested in cattle. There are many health issues to over come to trade in Asia so it was important not to promote too much until the goods had arrived. Not only has much of the semen already been sold to farmers in Thailand there was a lot of interest from many other countries in Asia.
Richard Hartshorn who is co-ordinator for the SAS South Devon breeding group was extremely happy with the response to the breed at the exhibition, “The interest was amazing and to actually have the semen there to sell at the exhibition made a big difference as I was able to say to farmers you can use this breed as the semen was there for them to see”.
In a recent booklet written by a senior Doctor of Agriculture in Thailand about the top 20 beef breeds of the world he had said of South Devon cattle “ The biggest problem with this breed is being able to get the genetics into Thailand”, that bridge has now already been crossed.
With the interest being so high from all of Asia Richard Hartshorn is looking to attend other agricultural and livestock shows in the region soon. Mr. Hartshorn stated his appreciation of the help from the South Devon Herd Book Society and UKTI (a government department, who specialise in helping small enterprises try and build export markets) on this first trade visit.
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