Ballycreelly Livestock seizing export opportunities for Ovine semen and embryo sales
Ballycreelly Livestock is based just outside Comber Co Down in Northern Ireland and is run by the husband and wife team of Kevin & Anna McCarthy and family. It is principally a sheep enterprise as well as a niche side line of producing and selling polo ponies.
Both Hampshire Down and Beltex pedigree sheep breeds have been produced there for over 30 years plus more recently a composite terminal sire, crossing a Beltex ram on a Hampshire Down ewe producing a HampTex ram combining the faster finishing of a Hampshire with the carcass qualities of a Beltex.
The farm is run using best management principles with a particular attention to high quality grass production with grazing using a paddock system and silage cut every 8 weeks during the season. Sheep are performance recorded to assist the selection of stock for the best commercial traits. Additionally the flock has been managed to achieve the highest health status required to satisfy most export EHCs.
Exporting live Hampshires has been an important part of the business over the last 20 years with sheep regularily exported to France, Belgium, The Netherlands Spain and The Republic of Ireland.
More recently they have started to look much further afield to export markets in North and South America as well as New Zealand. The gradual opening up of South America with new EHC agreements in Argentina and Brazil and more recently Paraguay and Chile has been seen as particularly attractive as the Hampshire Down is seen as one of the most important terminal sires in those countries.
In 2019 they had their first success working with AB Europe with semen and embryos being sold to two farming enterprises in New Zealand.
Subsequently in 2021 that business has mushroomed with more orders taken again for New Zealand but also Argentina, Brazil and Canada. Additionally orders are currently under discussion for the US and Angola and possibly Kenya.
Kevin says ‘I am very keen to continue developing these export opportunities as they are now becoming a significant addition to the bottom line.’