Over the next three weeks, Angus, Hereford and Simmental bull breeders have the opportunity to nominate sires to be considered for use in the Informing New Zealand Beef across-breed Beef Progeny Test.
The call for bull nominations closes on Friday 25 August and selected bulls will be used in the next mating season on Pamu’s Kepler farm near Te Anau and Lochinver Station near Taupo.
Lochinver Station joined the programme as a Progeny Test host farm last year and in January this year, around 600 Angus cows were artificially inseminated using Angus, Hereford and Simmental bulls.
For Lochinver Station, becoming a Progeny Test site for the ground-breaking Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) genetics programme provides benefits for the farm business and the wider industry.
“We’re a progressive farm with a strong focus on beef production and so we are pleased and proud to be a part of something that will help build a stronger beef industry in New Zealand,” says Steve Smith, Business Manager at the 9,500Ha sheep and cattle farm, which is on the Rangitaiki Plains near Taupo.
Lochinver’s inclusion in the programme allowed Simmental genetics to be included in the Beef Progeny Test (BPT) for the first time. While Simmentals are typically used as a terminal sire in this country, Jason Archer, Informing New Zealand Beef’s Science Lead, says the breed is commonly used in maternal crossbred cows in other parts of the world.
He says there are maternal lines of Simmental available in this country which are suitable for use in a maternal crossbreeding programme.
On Kepler farm, Hereford and Angus cows are run side-by-side with crosses undertaken both ways.
Dr Archer says the BPT will allow breeds to be compared as well as bulls.
“It will enable B+LNZ Genetics to evaluate good bulls on the same level playing field while demonstrating the differences and similarities between the breeds as well as the benefits of hybrid vigour.”
Breeders of bulls selected for use in the BPT will be provided with detailed information about the performance of their bull’s progeny including processing data (in the case of steers).
The information collected through the Progeny Test is something Steve Smith also welcomes.
“We get provided with data on the growth, fertility and carcase traits. That will help us on farm to identify how we could introduce different breeds of bulls and create hybrid vigour to produce more efficient cattle.”
Dr Archer says the Informing New Zealand Beef BPT builds on data gathered from the previous Beef Progeny Test with matings carried out between 2014-2020 on several large-scale commercial cattle operations throughout the country.
A report on the maternal performance of the Progeny Test sired females in the earlier BPT was released this week and covers cow size traits (Mature Cow Weight, Body Condition Score and Hip Height) and cow milk and fertility traits (Pregnancy Rate, Days to Conception and Milk production).