A new $25.68 million innovation programme for New Zealand’s dairy industry will drive improvements in the health and wellbeing of the national dairy herd and a step-change in sustainable milk production.
Breed society, Jersey NZ and LIC signed the Jersey Future agreement in June last year, and have worked together since to jointly select and prove the genetic merit of top young Jersey bulls.
Jersey Future aims to increase genetic gain in the breed for NZ dairy farmers, and produce more bulls for the Jersey breed that have diversity, reliability and longevity.
A limited number of artificial breeding (AB) straws from the seven Jersey bulls are now available for farmers to purchase from Jersey NZ for the upcoming mating season.
Casey Inverarity, LIC bull acquisition manager, points to the benefits the scheme will bring to the breed and dairy industry.
“Jerseys once dominated the dairy industry in NZ. Focussed breeding programmes like Jersey Future help ensure there is enough genetic diversity and gain for the breed to continue to strengthen and develop.”
Jersey NZ board member Steve Ireland says the relationship between LIC and Jersey NZ was valued, and the sort of collaboration Jersey Future offered was important for the breed’s growth and the dairy industry’s continued success.
“Jersey Future offers us the opportunity to prove bulls in a widespread manner which I’m certain will generate high quality animals for the industry, and that’s our way of helping with continued genetic gain within the Jersey breed.”
To ensure the success of the programme, a minimum of 70 herd tested heifers per bull within 35 herds have to be generated.
By purchasing straws from these golden sires, farmers will be doing their part to benefit the Jersey breed.