Natalie and Tom

Newly minted consultants to join UK office

AbacusBio International will be able to leverage the skillsets of new consultants Natalie Howes and Tom Kirk, who recently finished their studies at the University of Otago.

Both Natalie and Tom will be joining colleague Tim Byrne at the Edinburgh office, AbacusBio International, where Tim is also the managing director.

Alongside Tim, they will be working across a variety of projects throughout Europe whilst maintaining links to the Dunedin office, where they both have been based for the past few years.

“It’s an exciting phase for expanding our global presence,” Tim remarks.

“Having Natalie and Tom here in our Edinburgh operation is a great testament to our clients that our work is making a real impact on the global industry.”

Natalie had spent the previous years on a PhD based at AbacusBio in Dunedin. She investigated the effect of using novel forages to increase omega content in New Zealand lamb.

Her research found that the composition of diet is a critical factor that influences omega content in lamb, but is not the primary factor.

“Animal genetics and plant cultivars are also significant factors,” Natalie explains. These findings reinforced the industry message around the globe that genetic improvement and high-quality feed go a long way in producing exceptional lamb.

Indeed, we have Tom to prove the relationship between genetic improvement and profitability; where his background in economics, finance, and statistics come in play.

Tom first joined AbacusBio as a summer intern in 2014 while studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in economics and finance at the University of Otago.

His involvement with a wide breadth of projects spurred him on to upskill in statistics at the University of Otago – whilst continuing to work part-time at AbacusBio.

“Our work has consistently shown that genetic improvement has a direct impact on the baseline of farm businesses as well as the whole industry,” Tom points out.

However, the gains often go unnoticed over years. And this is not surprising, as genetic improvement is all about long-term, incremental gains.

“We are excited to join Tim in the UK and look forward to making a further impact on global agriculture,” Tom adds.

More updates to come in the next Breeder issue, as Tom relocates to Edinburgh in January 2018, followed by Natalie in February.