Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) are partnering in a new $16.7 million beef genetics programme, with the potential to boost the sector’s profits by $460 million over the next 25 years.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is co-investing in the seven-year partnership through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.
Called Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB), the programme will provide farmers with the genetic selection tools they need to breed animals better suited to New Zealand’s farming conditions. In turn, this will improve sustainability, productivity and profitability, while also speeding up farmers’ ability to respond quickly to changing consumer preferences.
INZB Programme Governance Group Chair Helen Anderson says New Zealand’s beef sector currently relies on an Australian genetics platform, which understandably factors in traits relevant to its climate and farming systems.
“INZB will develop a New Zealand-based genetic evaluation, which will ultimately result in more efficient beef animals, which generate less greenhouse gases and are more profitable.”
“The new evaluation is ground breaking because bulls of different breeds can be directly compared. Currently, each beef breed has its own evaluation, which makes genetic selection unnecessarily complicated for the farmer.”
B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor says the programme capitalises on New Zealand’s world-leading skills and knowledge in sheep genetics and applies them to the beef industry.
“The data tells us that our beef industry has been lagging behind on genetic progress. Not only will this give the industry better genetic tools, but a major focus of the programme is to work with commercial farmers to increase understanding and grow confidence in using genetic information to drive productivity and profitability.”
“Dairy farmers stand to benefit significantly, too. With these new production-focused genetic selection tools, dairy farmers will be able to select semen from beef bulls for Artificial Insemination in their herds, more confident that they will have shorter gestation, easy calving and produce more valuable calves.”
The programme is being funded 60 percent by B+LNZ and 40 percent by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
For more information, please contact B+LNZ Genetics’ on firstname.lastname@example.org or 027 255 8659