3TH TRIP: VISIT OF THE ROCHARDS’HERD TO DISCOVER THE DOUBLE MUSCLE GENE

Background

Christophe Rochard’s farm is situated near Magnac Laval in the north of the limousin region. He comes from a family of commercial dealers. Christophe decided to take over the family farm in 1984. He had a shed built and started fattening young calves. He selected the best young females of his father’s trade, fattened them to sell them before they reached 3 years of age to various local butchers.

In 1990 at the time of the Common Agricultural Policy, Christophe decided to start breeding livestock. He started with 50 limousin cows over 120 hectares of meadows. He started the selection work at that time but was not a member of the limousin society. From the beginning, he specialized in mixed beefy type to extreme beefy type cattle.

As the years went by, he slowed down his fattening business which he completely stopped in 1997 to concentrate on breeding livestock.

2004 : registration of his cows and the discovery of the double muscle gene

In 2004, as Christophe sold more and more livestock, Jean-Luc Kress advised him to join the herd-book and register his herd. Around the same time, the double muscle gene was discovered in his herd.

The double muscle gene was first found on an extreme shapy heifer (a daughter of TATOUMH) that was sold to the company Midatest to be flushed for embryos. She was a homozygous carrier of the double muscle gene. The herd-book decided to register his herd as pure bred. As a consequence of the discovery of the double muscle gene in the breed, the limousin society decided to test all the bulls before registering them. A few months later, the herd-book proposed to test all his cows for the 5 following years. At the time, 50% of his cows carried the double muscle gene.

Today, almost all of his cows carry the double muscle gene.

He runs 220 calvings every year on 340 hectares of land, only natural meadows. He uses natural service, only his heifers are inseminated, some of them with KBS polled bulls.

Muscle, fine bones and easy calvings …

Christophe has always worked with mixed beefy to extreme beefy type animals.

It started with NOUNOURS from Cathy Patureau, a JACOT son (homozygous carrier of the double muscle gene) that has stamped the herd breeding extreme beefy type progeny with remarkable docility. His daughters were milky with outstanding carcasses as culled cows.  OPTICIEN RR, a MALIBU son born in the Franck Camus herd, has brought volume while retaining the beef and milk qualities. UMINOG-BEN, a NEPTUNE son from Vincent Benoit’s herd, has brought a lot of growth and length with very good conformation. He sired the female champion of the 2012 St Yrieix fat stock show that was the top price of the sale at 15 300 €. Next was URIPOLAIN, a NINO son born in the Champeval herd, that has bred quality heifers with volume and strong breed characteristics. URANUS, an EPSON son born in the Mézerette-Mazalaigue herd has brought a lot of early maturity and was qualified RR. BOSQUET (mh/mh) purchased in Belgium by Jean-Luc Kress, bred extreme beefy type progeny with very muscly bulls.

BOUFFON, a UBU son born in Zephirin Lavigne’s herd, was a bull that also stamped the herd. He brought a lot of muscle and width while retaining a good growth potential. He purchased SOLO, born in Guy Broussaud’s herd, from Michael Klemm in Germany where it had been exported. He was an easy calving bull used only on heifers that passed on fine bones to his progeny. Then came EDDY, a CABARET son, an easy calving bull with a good growth potential.

DUCAS andDANTON (OMAR x JACOT from Cathy Patureau) were both heterozygous carriers of the double muscle gene. They have produced progeny with a lot of muscle. They both were all-round bulls and easy calvers with a lot of growth. They have produced many progeny that were sold abroad.

FABIUS (a BOSQUET son on UMINOG BEN), GALUS (a CABARET son born in the Bros herd),GALLOIS (born in Richard Thomas’s herd and purchased at the Simbeef sale in Villepinte in 2013), FREDDY (OMAR bloodline from Cathy Patureau) and FABIO(mh/+ an OBJAT son on UMINOG BEN) are the bulls he uses today.

Great success in fat stock shows

In 1997 Christophe Rochard started taking part in the St Yrieix fat stock shows organized by Jean-Luc Kress and Opalim. He has not missed a sale since and has won many prizes. He was champion in 2004, 2012 and 2014. He is also present at the Simbeef sales in Paris-Villepinte where he has also won many prizes.

Despite the success he meets in fat stock shows, he is not allowed to take part in any other limousin shows since most of his animals carry the double muscle gene.

Relationship with KBS

Christophe Rochard started working with KBS in 2002. He purchased and sold livestock bulls with Jean-Luc Kress.

He participated for the first time in the fat stock sales of the Simagena in 2005. Since then, he has taken part in all the fat stock sales organized by KBS and also had 3 animals in the Prestige sales.

I like working with KBS, they find clients abroad for my extreme beefy animals” explains Christophe.

A growing interest in polled genetics

Since the beginning of polled genetics in the limousin breed, I have always wondered if I should head that way or not. The progress made lately with regards to muscle has convinced me to move in that direction! I have started inseminating my heifers with polled bulls such as Tigris and Hinz and I am planning to purchase a polled bull in the near future. Ideally I would like to breed animals that are both polled and carriers of the double muscle gene to meet the demand of commercial breeders and foreign clients!”

What about the future ?

The future looks promising for the Rochard herd. Mixed beefy type or extreme beefy type animals are in demand both for livestock sales and the beef industry. Christophe would like to promote and develop the double muscle gene in the limousin breed and start working seriously with polled genetics.

Polled and double muscle gene animals : new and performing genetics !

English translation of the video

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