A PRIZE BULL has helped to boost interim profits at Genus plc by 25%, as farmers clamour to get hold of his semen.

Demand for UK-bred bull Picston Shottle has booked up production until April 2005, despite new biotechnology which means that he can give 200,000 doses per year.

Genus revealed results for the six months to Sept 30 which showed operating profit up by £0.9m, even though turnover fell by 3% to £91.1m.

The stud operation expanded its market share in the US and in the UK, with turnover up slightly at £40.6m and an operating profit of £5.2m.

Picston Shottle is the latest star at Genus, with the highest ever marks for a UK bull in “type merit”, which includes stature and longevity. He has a sprung mattress and listens to Mozart, according to chief executive Richard Wood.

Income dropped at the animal health division, dominated by Animalcare which markets licensed pharmaceuticals to vets. It fell 8% to £39m, but operating profit increased 25% to £900,000.

Consultancy accounts for the £11.4m balance of the group‘s income. New business has dropped off in spite of a foot-and-mouth disease contract from the UK government and a deal in Kyrgyzstan.

The bulk of turnover (more than 75%) arose from UK-based operations, with 18% from the US and just 3% from Europe. The company sells to farmers in over 70 countries.