3 November 1995

SHOW OFFERS FRENCH WINDOW ON BREEDING

THE French cattle show SPACE offered British visitors a chance to see the best cattle pre-selected from across northern France.

The show increased in size again this year, with 11% more exhibitors and a total of over 81,500 visitors, including 2800 foreign visitors. That is an increase of 5500 visitors on 1994.

"SPACE offers an ideal opportunity to see how breeding lines are being used in France," says Brian Boulton of GenGen, the British import agency for Sersia France. "Visitors see the French genetics on offer in the UK and how to use the bulls by viewing cows and progeny groups."

One highlight of the show was the UNECO "STARS 95" presentation of daughter groups from six of the latest French bulls. Cows were sired by Esquimau, Erwalds, Fameux, Enehould, Eblack and Eroyal. Their daughter groups came under the scrutiny of judges from across Europe.

Esquimaus daughters were judged by Martin Hall of the British Holstein Friesian Society. Class winner was a second lactation cow Geranium, from a dam by the US sire Jason. She went on to win the overall daughter class.

Mr Hall said the Esquimau daughter group had dairy quality, good length of head and neck, cleanness of bone and depth of heel. He also liked the way they walked and was impressed by their well attached fore udders, very strong central ligaments and good udder texture.

"The type of cow Esquimau throws has dairy strength, depth of heel, openness of rib and great ligaments," he said. "The bull is well bred and his daughters are going to be long lasting."

Championship show cattle are pre-selected to give 240 Holstein and 60 Normande cows for judging. Also displayed were 10 Montbeliard and 10 Red-Pieds.

The Holstein championship was taken by a third lactation Blackstar out of the Secret cow.

SPACE also saw an auction of 36 elite heifer calves. Top price was 80,000 francs (£10,060) for a 10-month-old heifer, Jidannix, by the French bull Dannix. Average sale price for heifers in the auction was 32,000 francs (£4025).

Jidannix was bought for the Dutch company Gene Diffusion by its French sire analyst Frederic Lepoint. The calf will be flushed as a maiden heifer to produce breeding bulls and will produce embryos for sale in Holland and the UK, claims geneticist Paul Koerhuis from Firma Dekker of the Gene Diffusion group.

"We bought the heifer as its one of the oldest Dannix calves in the world and it comes from a very good cow family," he says. "Gene Diffusion imports 500-600 embryos and only about 10 live heifers a year." This heifer will help diversify the breeding programme, he claims. &#42

High genetic merit dairy heifers sold for an average £4025 at the SPACE show auction in Brittany, France.