Beef farmers will be watching closely to see results from Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Informing Beef programme.
The overall aim of the seven-year programme is to make the beef industry more profitable and sustainable through genetic improvement.
The objectives of the programme are to:
- develop a beef genetic evaluation system that includes traits that are important to New Zealand beef farmers and support a sustainable beef farming industry in NZ
- create easy to use tools which enable data to be efficiently collected, managed, analysed and used by farmers to make profitable decisions for their operation
- create a new approach to extension design with the goal of increasing farmer engagement across the beef industry.
Trait feasibility work has been completed and the programme has just completed a Farmer Trait Prioritisation survey to decide what traits should be included in a NZ-specific genetic evaluation.
Results from this survey, along with input from the programme’s Independent Advisory Group, will help direct what traits will be carried forward in the INZB programme, and most importantly will influence the future of the New Zealand beef industry.
Meanwhile, a second Beef Progeny Test (BPT) site, Lochinver Station, part of Rimanui Farms Ltd, has been recruited to be part of the INZB programme. This progeny test will include Simmental as well as Angus and Hereford animals.
Nominations for bulls to be used at the progeny test farms closed at the end of August.
Selected bulls will be used for artificial insemination at both the Kepler (Te Anau) and Lochinver BPT sites – with Angus and Hereford bulls being used at Kepler across both Angus and Hereford cows in December 2022, and Simmental, Angus and Hereford bulls being used across Angus cows at Lochinver in January 2023.
A number of extension activities have also been carried out with the goal of helping farmers use the tools they already have available to them to breed better beef.
Better Beef Breeding online workshops were held in April, with a focus on helping farmers understand and interpret the information presented in bull sales catalogues, as well as how to carry out a structural assessment and understanding fertility testing.
A Bull Breeders webinar was held with Technical Advisory Group (TAG) member Professor Wayne Pitchford and INZB Science Lead Dr Jason Archer discussing maternal productivity and reproduction.
Finally, a Beef Structural Assessment video featuring Accredited Structural Assessment technician Bill Austin and Dr Archer can be viewed on the Beef + Lamb NZ Knowledge Hub. www.beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub.