The widest range of European cattle genetics will be heading to the UK, thanks to a new and intensified relationship between France’s largest breeding organisation, Innoval, and Germany’s dominant breeding company, Masterrind.

Through Innoval’s exporting arm, Evolution International, genetics from up to 65% of the French market will be sold in the UK through the Masterrind subsidiary, Mastergen.

The deal secures the strongest ever line-up of French and German dairy and beef genetics for UK producers.

Innoval’s French line-up is dominated by Holstein genetics but also features bloodlines from the Normande, Pie Rouge and Brown Swiss breeds.

The beef breeds include Limousin, Charolais and Blonde d’Aquitaine for which the country is famed. It also includes the composite INRA, which is mainly an amalgam of Charolais and Blonde, but also comprises genes from the Limousin, Red Meadows and Piemontese, and is now a breed in its own right.

The deal also secures a route for less mainstream pedigree beef breeds, some of which have previously been difficult for UK beef producers to access. This includes the Parthenaise, Bazadaise and Gascon breeds, and the popular Salers, used increasingly across UK suckler herds.

Also difficult to source, have been the Abondance and Tarentaise breeds, which will be added to the dairy line-up.

Dairy goat semen will be part of the deal, tapping into a hugely important industry and gene pool in continental Europe.

Alison Dunphy, MD of Mastergen, says: “We have had a trading relationship with Evolution for the past six years, and are thrilled to cement this with such a strong agreement.

“Innoval runs an exceptional programme of research and development and has one of the largest breeding programmes in the world,” she says. “It represents 65% of the French market, distributes its semen in 70 countries, and its R&D activity and genetic development involves a network of 2000 participating breeders.

“With more than 6000 Holstein males genotyped every year and one of the largest semen sexing laboratories in Europe, we can look forward to the continued availability of diverse and industry-leading bloodlines.”

Much of the semen from Evolution will be marketed to UK customers by Mastergen itself, but existing routes, through third parties, will also be stepped up. This ensures farmers committed to working with other breeding companies will have no disruption of supply.

“When Mastergen was established in the UK in 2014, we were the exclusive UK importer of genetics from Masterrind,” she says. “As we also become the exclusive importer from the majority of France’s cattle breeding industry, we are proud to offer UK producers an unsurpassed catalogue of mainstream, elite and specialist genetics from the main breeders and breeding programmes across continental Europe.”