Longley Whitebred Shorthorn Cattle Exported to Finland
July 9th 2018
Adrian has just returned from Finland after delivering a nucleus herd of Whitebred Shorthorn cattle.
In September 2017 I met a farmer from Finland, Lars Strom, he was on a coach trip to Scotland looking at Highland Cattle. He requested to come to Sunnyside Farm because he was interested in Whitebred Shorthorns. On arrival, it was obvious to me he was serious, so we discussed what animals would be available. Then, the question came very quickly, could I do it? I said it could be possible but not until May next year after calving. At the turn of the year, Lars committed and reaffirmed his order. At this point I thought I had better get to know what needed to be done.
I spoke to Dr Hannele Nauholz, head veterinary advisor in Finland. She explained all that needed to be done, which sounded all very complicated. She also spoke to my vets, Cameron & Greg in Milnathort.
In March we started the testing program, which required a herd test for Mycoplasma bovis. We were warned that there could be false positives in the blood tests. As it turned out all were negative, which gave us the encouragement to carry on.
With the cold, wet spring, it seemed the first week in June would be the earliest I could get away, so in late May we started the other testing programs. Starting with Ringworm vaccinations, then blood tests for TB, IBR, BVD, JOHNES, BRUCELLOSIS, LEPTOSPIRA, SALMONELLA, nasal swabs and blood for BOVIS, and tests for CAMPYLOBACTER.
All went well until we were informed the export lab had not tested the nasal swabs! Somehow they had been overlooked!!! It was well into June when we retested, and with it being a difficult test to setup, our stress levels rocketed, because we were running out of time before it was all called off. With just one day left our vet phoned, all tests ok, you can go.
It then became a mad rush to load and go, with little time to think how it would all happen.
The journey split into 3 sections, 326 miles to the port at Killingholme on the Humber, an 11 hour ferry crossing to Hock of Holland. The next was a 366 mile drive across Holland into Germany to the port of Travemundy. From there, a 29 hour ferry crossing on the Baltic Sea to Helsinki. Throughout the long ferry crossing I was allowed to see to my animals i.e. feed, water and clean bedding, and they travelled very well, behaving just as they did at home in their pens.
Having never been to Finland before, thing were very different from the rest of Europe. Leaving Helsinki on what seemed to be a new motorway, the first thing I noticed was the clarity of the air, being able to see for miles to the horizon. Some 20 miles from the port I realised the absence of traffic, with just an odd vehicle coming in the opposite direction. (Rather like Scotland was some 30 years ago). All the land was like home, very dry, with spring crops struggling to survive and hardly any grass. I arrived at the farm late in the afternoon, but with 24 hours of daylight it was difficult to know the time.
Lars and all his family were there to greet me, and to see the animals unloaded, a 2 year old bull, and two yearling heifers, they went into isolation pens which were ready for them. It gave me great satisfaction to see them come off the lorry just as they had gone on, after a 4 day journey.
At this point Lars told me that it was the culmination of a 10 year dream to have the first Whitebred Shorthorns in Finland. It all started when he met me at Euro Tier in Hanover, in 2006, when I had 2 in-calf Whitebred Shorthorn x Highland heifers in the British pavilion. They were the only live exhibits direct from the UK, and caused a lot of interest. Obviously I talked to many people at the event, and sadly I didn’t remember one person, but it is proof, if proof were needed that promotion does work.
This was a European hat trick for Longley Whitebred Shorthorns, first into Germany, Austria and now Finland.