Commercial beef farmers join the B+LNZ Informing New Zealand Beef programme

// Breeding and Genetics

The first ten commercial beef farmers have been selected to take part in the ground-breaking Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) programme.


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

Focused on increasing uptake of 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.

“We’re on a mission to give breeders and farmers genetic tools to help produce great tasting beef and drive production efficiency” says Gemma Jenkins of the INZB programme.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand want commercial farmers to understand the value of better genetics and be able to easily select the right genetics for their system, to drive greater profitability.

“The commercial farms participating in this initiative are a critical part of the project because they will contribute to the accuracy of breeding values of stud bulls available to commercial farmers.”

The ten commercial farmers, which are helping pilot the programme, will provide 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. Farmers will also be able to benchmark their herd against others involved in the programme.

Hawke’s Bay farmer Patrick Crawshaw is among those selected.

Patrick grew up in the beef sector with his father’s Kendhardt Angus stud in Nuhaka, Hawke’s Bay, breeding Angus cattle for over 50 years. Patrick and his wife Isabelle now farm at Patoka and have a commercial breeding cow herd and finish lamb and cattle.

“This is an opportunity to be able to change the beef industry for the better and make it a more competitive land use so I am very happy to help on that journey,” says Patrick.

“As a farmer, I welcome the openness of the project and the ability to get a big volume of information and data into analysis to be able to validate and challenge what we believe is efficiency.

“I want to play my part in challenging and stimulating the beef industry and create gains for the sector. I’m particularly excited about the opportunities to link the genetic situation to production outcomes and to increase the reproduction rate/calving percentage of breeding cows.

“There are huge gains to be made there and also the opportunity to compare not just within one breed, like Angus, Charolais or Simmental, but to compare across all breeds. That is a necessity for the beef industry to make those production gains we desperately need.

“INZB is setting up a great template. If we make it as simple and streamlined as possible for other commercial farmers to pick up, then that will help us get that accurate data we desperately need for the beef industry to enable us to make gains and to be competitive as a land use and enterprise mix in commercial farming situations.”

The INZB programme aims to onboard 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.