Beef + Lamb New Zealand, with the support of the Ministry for Primary Industries, is leading the Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) partnership Informing New Zealand Beef programme.
The overall aim of the seven-year programme is to improve profitability and enhance sustainability across the beef industry through the development and adoption of improved genetics.
In addition to developing a beef genetic evaluation system to support a sustainable beef farming industry in New Zealand, the programme will also create easy to use tools to enable data to be efficiently collected, managed, analysed and used by farmers to make profitable decisions for their operation.
In a major milestone for INZB, one of New Zealand’s largest farms has been selected to be part of the programme.
Lochinver Station on the Rangitaiki Plains near Taupo joins Pāmu’s Kepler Farm near Te Anau as a progeny test site.
The across-breed Beef Progeny Test uses Angus, Hereford and now Simmental genetics to identify the performance of agreed-on traits. Angus cows will be artificially inseminated at Lochinver in January 2023 with Angus, Hereford and Simmental bulls used at the North Island farm.
The test will gather data which will allow the breeds as well as the bulls to be compared.
In addition to enabling the programme to demonstrate the differences and similarities between the breeds, along with the benefits of hybrid vigour, the main purpose is to evaluate good bulls on the same base.
Importantly, the expansion into the North Island will allow the inclusion of Simmental genetics into the test. It will give us more capacity to analyse these breeds together as a dataset.
Calving has been going well at Kepler with some fantastic calves on the ground across all breeds. The team have been out collecting data every morning including birth date and calving assistance score.
The AI cows have finished calving and a very small percentage of cows have been assisted, but it has been very successful overall.
Trait Prioritisation Survey
Thank you to everyone who took part in the programme’s Trait Prioritisation Survey recently.
The survey will inform the direction the programme takes in developing the genetic evaluation system for the industry with the findings providing valuable insights into farmer demographics, views and behaviours around genetics and indexes, and trait preferences.
The INZB team is now analysing the results of the survey and will provide a further update later this year.
Learn more about the programme on the B+LNZ Genetics website.