More commercial farmers join genetics programme

The Informing New Zealand Beef programme has 16 new commercial farmers adding to its numbers....
The Informing New Zealand Beef programme has 16 new commercial farmers adding to its numbers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Sixteen more commercial beef farmers have been selected to take part in the ground-breaking Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) programme to help drive the uptake of genetics in the industry.

The seven-year INZB partnership, supported by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the New Zealand Meat Board, and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, aims to boost the sector’s profits by $460 million over the next 25 years.

Focused on increasing the use of high-quality genetics in the beef industry, the four main components of the programme are developing New Zealand-specific breeding indexes, building an across-breed genetic evaluation and data infrastructure, running a beef progeny test, and linking in data from commercial herds.

"These 16 farmers from across the country, alongside the 21 farmers already in the programme, are supporting our mission to give breeders and farmers genetic tools to help produce great-tasting beef and drive production efficiency," INZB programme commercial herds project lead Sonya Shaw says.

"The INZB programme is helping commercial farmers understand the value of better genetics and offers them the opportunity to easily select the right genetics for their system to drive greater profitability on their farms.

"We need commercial farmers involved in the programme because they contribute to the accuracy of breeding values of stud bulls available to commercial farmers.

"Being part of the programme also allows for more accurate heifer selection in herds, which will have a lasting impact on the commercial herds’ progress towards their own goals."

The 16 new commercial farmers from Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Manawatu-Whanganui, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Waikato bring the total number of farmers involved in the programme to 37.

They are providing accurate pedigree recording, assessing bull teams’ performances, ensuring accurate information for heifer replacement selection, and work with their bull breeders to make more rapid genetic progress.

The farmers are also able to benchmark their herd against others involved in the programme.

The INZB programme aims to recruit at least 10 commercial farmers with a passion for genetics each year. Those selected adopt a recording schedule across the year and can also, if they wish, carry out genotyping of their cow herd and, on an annual basis, calves and sires.

"We had a great deal of interest in joining the programme this year and we look forward to inviting more farmers to take part next year," Sonya says. — Supplied