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ADT - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Tierzüchter e.V.
Head Office: Adenauerallee 174 • 53113 Bonn • Germany
EU liaision office: Rue du Luxembourg 47-51 • 1050 Brussels • Belgium

Export Platform (ExPla)

European Platform of Exporters of bovine genetics (ExPla)

The European Platform of Exporters of Bovine Genetics (ExPla) is a coordinating body that represents breeding organisations and companies from 12 countries that account for roughly 85 % (in volume) and 95 % (in value), respectively, of the EU exports of bovine semen as well as for around 80 % of EU trade in pure-bred breeding animals to Third countries.

ExPla exchanges notably with the EU Commission in the field of export of bovine semen and embryos as well as live breeding animals to Third Countries. Of particular importance are the veterinary certificates, which are a prerequisite for trade. Apart from that, the Platform deals with general trade questions. It is represented in the SPS Market Access Working Group of DG TRADE.


ExPla developed from the initiative of professional organisations of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Austria who started back in the 1990’s to discuss the legislative framework for exports of live bovine breeding animals. The Platform has been developed further and since 2007 there are two working groups: The first deals with bovine semen and embryos (S&E) and the second with live animals (LA).


The ExPla members stand up for quality assurance in trade and for the removal of unjustified trade restrictions.

One focus of ExPla's activities has recently been to combat the unjustified restrictions imposed by some Third countries on the import of semen obtained from donor bulls having been found positive for Schmallenberg virus in a serological test. European exporters have invested in systematic monitoring of these bulls and by using PCR tests, they can ensure that only safe semen is exported. The members of ExPla have written a position paper which explains this procedure in more detail and which can be downloaded from the following link:

The ExPla members stand up for quality assurance in trade and for the removal of unjustified trade restrictions.


The following organisations are members of the Platform:

Germany:       German Animal Breeders‘ Federation (ADT), Groups S&E and LA

                       German Livestock Association (Bundesverband Rind und Schwein, BRS), Groups S&E and LA

France:           Allice (umbrella organisation of French AI centres), Group S&E

                       Races de France (French herdbook organisations), Group LA

Austria:           genetic AUSTRIA GmbH, Group S&E

                       Zentrale Arbeitsgemeinschaft österreichischer Rinderzüchter (ZAR), Group LA

Netherlands: CRV (for the Holstein breed represented in CZ, too), Group S&E

                      Veepro Holland, Group LA

Denmark, Sweden, Finland:  Viking Genetics, Group S&E

United Kingdom:                  UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), Group S&E

Ireland:         Dovea Genetics , Group S&E

Spain:             Spanish Group of stud centres, Group S&E

Italy:                Inseme, Group S&E

Belgium:         Association Wallone de l'Elevage (AWE), Group S&E


The chairman of the Platform is currently Hans-Peter Schons (ADT, Germany). The secretariat is housed at the ADT office in Brussels (Rue du Luxembourg 47-51, 1050 Brussels, contact: expla@eclipso.eu).

EU is net exporter of bovine semen and live breeding animals

The use of modern breeding technologies plays an important role in the development of livestock herds and the achievement of genetic progress. Through a clever combination of hereditary systems, the best results can be achieved. Therefore, it is no surprise that bovine semen is traded worldwide. In the 2018 calendar year, nearly 27 million doses of semen were sold in the Member States of the European Union with a market value of more than 108 million EUR. Intra-EU trade accounted for 15 million doses and exports from the EU to Third countries amounted to almost 12 million. Due to the trade restrictions imposed by many trading partners following the discovery of the Schmallenberg virus, exports to Third countries have meanwhile dropped to below 9 million units. They have recovered slowly but steadily in the coming years. For the first time in six years, the average price per dose of the exports to Third country have increased slightly again. One of the reasons for the previous steady decline, observed since 2012, is that the EU lost market share in high-priced countries (such as the US) and compensated for this with more sales to low-cost countries (such as Turkey or Vietnam). The export value of exports of bovine semen to Third countries amounted to over 33 million EUR in 2018.

The top 10 export destinations (Third countries) in calendar year 2018 (in terms of volume) were Turkey, Vietnam, China, the United States of America, Brazil, Chile, Morocco, Russia, Canada and Switzerland. In terms of sales value, Turkey is also ahead, followed by the USA, Switzerland and China. In 2009, the share of third country exports was still almost 60%. It fell below 40% in 2013 and has remained at around 45% in recent years.
Bovine semen imports from third countries have tended to grow steadily in recent years, reaching new highs in the 2018 calendar year. EU Member States received a total of around 11.2 million doses of bovine semen from abroad, with imports exceeding the 70 million EUR mark for the first time. By far the most important country of origin is the USA, which sold nearly 6.5 million doses in 2018 worth around 46 million EUR. Canada follows with about 3.6 million doses (21.5 million euros). New Zealand is ranked 3rd with 530,000 doses, followed by Switzerland with around 270,000 and Australia with 200,000.
The EU is thus quantitatively a net exporter of bovine semen (with the 2018 surplus amounting to only about 500,000 portions). However, due to imports of relatively high-priced semen from North America and the much lower price of exported semen, the EU has long been a net importer by the value of goods (the deficit increased to more than 37 million EUR in 2018).

As regards the pure-bred breeding animals, official statistics (Eurostat) show a marked increase in intra-Community trade and a decline in exports to Third countries. In 2018, a total of 621,000 heifers, cows and other breeding cattle were traded, including 383,000 within the EU (up 19% from the previous year) and 238,000 to Third countries (down 14%). The main export destinations were Turkey and Russia, followed by Algeria, Morocco and Uzbekistan. The export of high-quality breeding cattle is an important pillar of European agriculture, as the sales value reached almost EUR 767 million in the calendar year 2018 (that was a good 80 million EUR less than the year before). Exports to third countries accounted for 57% (437 million EUR), while the exchange of breeding cattle within the EU generated 330 million EUR. As only a few hundred breeding animals are imported from Third countries each year, the EU remains a very large net exporter. The export surplus rose to 437 million EUR in 2018.

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