Informing New Zealand Beef Programme

Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) is a future focused seven-year programme (2021–2027) designed to generate more income for beef producers and the economy while protecting the environment.

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Building on skills and knowledge that already exist in New Zealand – courtesy of our world-leading sheep genetic evaluation and previous work such as the B+LNZ Genetics Beef Progeny Test – this is the industry’s response to evolving consumer expectations around food quality and how it is produced.

INZB will focus on breeding objectives and traits, important to New Zealand farmers. It will also develop a New Zealand-based genetic evaluation for comparing bulls of different breeds, which will ultimately result in more efficient beef animals, that generate less greenhouse gases and are more profitable.

Development of tools will enable commercial farmers to select the right genetics quickly and easily for their farm system and environment. For some, it may be a focus on health traits such as Facial Eczema (a disease unique to New Zealand), while others may prefer to focus on meat quality traits aligned to a customer programme, or environmental efficiency in their animals.

The programme is being funded 60 percent by B+LNZ and 40 percent by the Ministry for Primary Industries through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.

Programme outline

1. Progeny test herds

Fundamental to an across-breed genetic evaluation is linkage and the ability to make adjustments for hybrid vigour. Industry-good Beef Progeny Test sites will provide those linkages and provide New Zealand collected data to accurately predict hybrid vigour. INZB goes a step further and will work with farmers to establish Next Generation herds within existing commercial operations. These herds will feed critical information back into the system:

  1. Performance data collected in commercial environments.
  2. Genomic data calibrated against commercial reality.
  3. Female replacement selection data.
  4. Carcase data.

2. Develop breeding objectives and indexes

Based on consultation with industry to determine trait priorities, New Zealand-specific indexes can be developed. With the potential to simplify how genetic information (e.g. Breeding Values and Indexes) is presented to occasional users, such as commercial farmers purchasing bulls, while still making detailed information available to breeders and advanced users.

3. Build a genetic evaluation

Core productivity traits will be established, based on existing genetic and performance data. Next, new traits will be developed, as identified by sector stakeholders. Building of a multi-breed evaluation will follow. Finally, importing international breeding values will be explored.

4. Data infrastructure

This is the programme’s “backend” computing power, where data flows in and out, seamlessly and for maximum benefit to individuals (breeders and farmers) and the national beef herd.

INZB resources

The following resources are available for the INZB programme. View the Beef Progeny Test webpage for Sire Lists and Beef Progeny Tests reports.