Jersey breeders gathered in Northland last month to hear how
the sector's livestock improvement programme was progressing.
About 50 attended this year's JerseyGenome two-day programme
at Daniel and Freya Lynch, at Waipu. Joint venture partners
Jersey New Zealand and CRV Ambreed opened the event with a
presentation summarising progress in the JerseyGenome
Jersey New Zealand spokeswoman Angela Makara said the
genetics programme had seen significant gains over a short
period - in each of the traits it measures to gauge genetic
''The summary showed that, to date, there has been a
significant percentage gain over the seven traits used when
''The average rate of genetic gain on all seven traits over
the last five intakes is 47% - a phenomenal achievement for a
scheme technically still in its early stages,'' she said.
The seven traits measured by the programme are breeding
worth, protein, liveweight, total longevity, fertility, udder
overall and dairy conformation.
''The rate of genetic gain has surpassed our expectations to
date,'' Ms Makara said.
Overall, it was considered the programme was contributing
positively to the industry, providing real benefits for the
breed, the farmer, Jersey New Zealand members and the two
joint venture partners, she said.
Delegates heard from various speakers during the event
including Phil Beatson of CRV Ambreed, who talked about what
the structure of a genetic improvement programme should look
like and the developing role of genomics in such a programme.
New Zealand Animal Evaluation manager Jeremy Bryant, Jacqui
Forsyth, of Animal Breeding Services, Massey university
animal genetics specialist Hugh Blair, and
Susan Meszaros, the developer of the Total Genetic Resource
Management programme, also spoke. Dr Meszaros explained the
role her group's software could play in enhancing genetic
gain and how the tool could be used in the selection of sires
used in the JerseyGenome programme.
Attendees were able to tour not only the Lynch family
operation but also that of the Grant Family Trust.
- by Ruth Grundy