Friday, 09 December 2016 13:55

Funding boost for beef genetics research

Written by 
Australian and New Zealand beef breeders, farmers and science providers met in Albury-Wodonga this month, as a landmark trans-Tasman collaboration kicked off. The trip included a visit to Wirruna Poll Herefords, a seedstock producer providing bulls to commercial farmers. Australian and New Zealand beef breeders, farmers and science providers met in Albury-Wodonga this month, as a landmark trans-Tasman collaboration kicked off. The trip included a visit to Wirruna Poll Herefords, a seedstock producer providing bulls to commercial farmers.

New Zealand beef genetics research is about to get a shot in the arm thanks to a landmark trans-Tasman collaboration.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) Genetics and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) say they will spend $5.2 million over three years on joint beef research projects. All the projects, here and in Australia, will be overseen by BLNZ Genetics.

General manager Graham Alder says the collaboration means every $1 of NZ farmer levy turns into $3.50 of research funding.

“The R&D needs of NZ and Australian producers are well aligned. It makes sense for scientists on both sides of the Tasman to work together to solve common problems.

“Beef genetics research in NZ has been under-funded for 30 years.

This partnership means research can progress and the results communicated to breeders and commercial farmers many years earlier.

For Australia, it means faster progress and an opportunity to advance projects that otherwise may not have gone ahead.”

The work will centre on the Trans-Tasman beef cow profitability programme, which aims to balance desirable maternal traits in beef cows with the finishing performance of calves and their ability to meet quality carcase specifications.

The programme will develop genetic measures for better describing the important physical attributes of a cow (size, body condition and her ability handle fluctuations in feed availability), fertility indicators in heifers and selection tools for easy decisionmaking. It will also investigate how different environments and farm systems in both countries impact on the balance of traits required to produce an economically efficient cow.

Adler says this research will also help underpin advancements in genomic technology.

The research will draw on existing projects in commercial farm settings. In NZ, BLNZ Genetics’ beef progeny test and maternal cow project will feed into the research. In Australia, inclusion of the Angus sire benchmarking programme and Hereford progeny test are being considered by the respective breed associations, with solid initial interest.

The programme began with a joint meeting of Australian and New Zealand beef breeders, farmers and science providers on November 14-15 in Albury-Wodonga.

Who's involved?

In Australia, the University of Adelaide (prof. Wayne Pitchford) and the University of New England’s animal genetics and breeding unit (Dr Robert Banks and Dr Matt Wolcott).

In New Zealand, AbacusBio (Dr Jason Archer) and Massey University (prof. Dorian Garrick). Commercial beef farmers and bull breeders will also be heavily involved, along with Angus NZ and the NZ Hereford Association.

More like this

Beef and lamb exports looking good

Farmers affected by the drought and COVID-19 can take some heart from the latest forecast for sheep and beef exports for the 2019/20 season.

Saving stock worth it for farmer

Central Hawkes Bay sheep and beef farmer Craig Preston has spent a huge sum of money buying feed for his stock rather than sending them off to the works – but says it’s worth the money. 

SFF comfortable with wage subsidy stance

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) says it applied for the wage subsidy to ensure it could retain workers when production levels decreased by up to 50% at some of its processing sites. 

Featured

Get ready for the ‘now’ norm

Get prepared for a ‘Now Normal’ future, says Ian Proudfoot – Global Head of Agribusiness for KPMG – discussing the likely effects of COVID-19 in the months to come.

 

Northland farmers count the costs

Northland farmers are starting to count the cost of one of the most severe droughts to hit the region as the cost of feed and lower prices for stock are the order of the day.

Times will get better for deer sector

While the deer industry faces several challenges in the short term, there will be a strong rebound in New Zealand venison sales once global demand recovers.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads