Lochinver Station hosts B+LNZ’s Beef Progeny Test field day

// Breeding and Genetics

Over 80 people attended Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Progeny Test field day at Taupō’s Lochinver Station last week to get updates on the seven-year Informing New Zealand Beef programme.

image of Hereford bull

Lochinver Station, which is run by Farm Business Manager Steve Smith, is one of two host farms for the Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) programme’s across-breed Progeny Test, the other is Pāmu’s Kepler Farm near Manapouri.

B+LNZ’s Genetic Specialist Jason Archer said the field day included a mix of INZB Progeny Test updates, a farm tour, in-field presentations and a beef class structural assessment demonstration.

He says there was some good discussion around the latest outcomes of the across-breed Beef Progeny Test which is now in its fourth year. This Test builds on previous progeny tests, using Angus, Hereford, and Simmental genetics to identify the performance of agreed-on traits, linking with international beef and dairy beef genetics.  Data is collected from conception throughout the animal’s life.

On Kepler Farm, Angus and Hereford cows are run side-by-side with crosses undertaken both ways. Simmental sires have been added to the mix on Lochinver Station and are used, along with Hereford bulls, across the property’s Angus cows.

Archer says the farm tour was one of the highlights of the field day and attendees got to appreciate the scale and scope of Lochinver Station which is one of NZ’s largest farms.

At yards out the back of the property, Ginny Dodunski, B+LNZ’s Wormwise Programme Manager talked about internal parasites in cattle while Agribusiness Technical Support for Silver Fern Farms, Melissa Sowden, discussed beef grading and reinforced messages about meat quality and how to achieve it.

Accredited Structural Assessment Technician Bill Austin’s live demonstration proved very popular and gave farmers a practical skill they could apply when buying bulls this year.

The seven-year Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) programme is a partnership between Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand Meat Board. It 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 a genetic evaluation and data infrastructure, running progeny test herds and developing new data sources.