Who’s your daddy: Australian bulls spread their seed worldwide
24 June 2022
Australian bulls are siring the next generation of dairy cattle in Pakistan, after Genetics Australia formed a close alliance with HRM Dairies, a Pakistani dairy enterprise.
A true believer in Australia’s elite genetics, HRM Dairies is also showcasing the value and quality of Australian genetic material to Pakistan’s dairy farmers. HRM’s video interviews with Australian farmers and breeders have attracted up to 100,000 views in Pakistan on its social media channels.
‘All Australian cattle exported to Pakistan in the past were mated with genetics from the Northern Hemisphere,’ says Robert Derksen, Genetics Australia’s Export Manager. ‘Most farmers didn’t know that Australia has a long-established genetics improvement program. HRM Dairies is showcasing the quality of Australian genetics. As a cooperative, this is great news for our business and our members.’
Rising interest in Australian cattle
Genetics Australia is Australia’s largest artificial breeding supplier. It has been at the forefront of genetic improvement in Australia for more than 60 years. The cooperative, owned by Australian farmers, offers semen from all major dairy breeds including locally bred Holstein, Jersey and Australian Red. It also offers bull semen from several beef breeds including Angus, Wagyu, Hereford, Speckle Park and Charolais.
Pakistan is a promising market for cattle genetics for two reasons. The first is the market’s interest in Australian cattle, reflected in rising live cattle exports to the country. The second is a Rs40 billion commitment by the Pakistan Government to import semen to improve livestock breeds. These factors prompted Genetics Australia to explore export opportunities.
‘We have developed genetics from our diverse dairy industry to produce medium-sized cows suitable for long-term, efficient milk production,’ says Derksen. ‘We believe they will appeal to progressive farmers in Pakistan.’
Breeding top-quality dairy cattle
An export opportunity arose when a Pakistani dairy enterprise called HRM Dairies contacted Derksen. The company’s CEO Mudassar Hassan is an ardent fan of Australian genetics. He had worked on Australian farms and seen the value of herds with elite genes.
Hassan and a group of investors set up HRM Dairies in 2018. He wanted animals with high-quality bloodlines and imported Holstein cows from Australia. When he decided to expand his herd, he contacted Genetics Australia to source genetic material. The synergy between the two companies saw Genetics Australia appoint HRM Dairies as its exclusive distributor in Pakistan.
In November 2021, Genetics Australia sent the first shipment of semen from leading Holstein and Jersey bulls to Pakistan. This shipment sold out quickly. A second shipment followed in December 2021. The company will send a third shipment in June 2022.
Today HRM milks nearly 400 Holsteins and plans to introduce Jersey and Australian Red breeds. It hopes to be milking 1,000 cows by 2024, many of which will be the offspring of Australian bulls.
Caption: Rob Derksen with Mohsin Zafar, owner of Eastern Dairy in Lahore. Eastern Dairy is milking over 2,000 cows with plans to milk over 5,000.
Showcasing Australian genetics in Pakistan
Hassan is on a mission to help Pakistani farmers understand the value of good genetics in improving fertility, health and profitability. HRM’s farm is a showcase for Australian genetics and is the only farm in Pakistan doing genomic testing. Hassan and Derksen have taken prospective customers to see firsthand the value of a herd with top-quality genes.
‘With proper care, cattle bred from high-quality genetics will produce high quantities of milk,’ says Derksen. ‘It’s why I believe Australian genetics can help Pakistan and India improve the production of their dairy cattle.’
HRM Dairies achieved its best-ever production rates in 2021. ‘The minimum production from any cow was 10,000 litres but the average was more than 12,000 litres,’ says Hassan.
Hassan has produced video interviews and live Q&A sessions with Australian cattle farmers and breeders. These videos, translated into Urdu, have attracted up to 100,000 views on his social media accounts.
Hassan’s advocacy is working. ‘When I attended the Dairy Asia Expo in Lahore in April 2022, I had farmers lining up to speak with me,’ says Derksen. ‘I was also at a seminar attended by farms with up to 80,000 head of cattle. I was the busiest I’ve ever been.’
How Austrade helped
Genetics Australia has enjoyed a close relationship with Austrade for many years. It has presented opportunities in several markets, including China and Pakistan.
‘The support of staff in Australia and China helped us establish China as our key export market,’ says Derksen. ‘We were part of an Austrade delegation to China for more than five years. The in-country knowledge is invaluable as is their understanding of cultural differences.
‘Austrade was also helpful when we first identified Pakistan as a market of interest several years ago. To assist our re-entry into Pakistan, Austrade provided market and industry intelligence, and advised on market entry strategies.
‘We are currently working with Austrade to introduce Australian dairy genetics to India and dairy and beef genetics to Brazil. Austrade has been and continues to be a great support for our business.’
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