A new facility to export sheep genetics from NI flocks is opening in Ballycraigy, Co Antrim, with the first shipment due to take place in July.

The centre, which will be run by Animal Breeding (AB) Europe, will include facilities to collect, freeze and quarantine both semen and embryos, as well as arrange shipping to international markets.

“We have developed the new centre in response to an increase in enquiries for NI sheep genetics from overseas markets such as the US and South America,” said Geraint Thomas from AB Europe.

In the past, NI sheep breeders had to ship stock to Britain to access overseas markets.

Local Hampshire Down breeder Kevin McCarthy explained that he previously used AB Europe’s centre in Malvern near Cheltenham.

“Bluetongue and Brexit movement restrictions combined with the prospect of new emerging diseases have made it impossible to continue,” he said.