telford student with consultant nadia mclean

Value of genetics shared with students

AbacusBio consultant Nadia McLean has been able to share some highlights of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B + LNZ) Genetics Central Progeny Test (CPT) programme with students from Telford, Taratahi, and Otago Polytechnic as they visited sites during the artificial insemination (AI) programme.

The B+LNZ Genetics CPT has been going for 14 years and is now run over five sites (Ashley Dene, Koromiko, Onslow View, Poukawa, and Woodlands).

The hill sites (Koromiko and Onslow View) were added in 2013 in order to investigate maternal genotype-by-environment interactions and determine if rams that rank well on lowland environments rank similarly on hill country.

The new sites also serve as training venues for students to be involved in all on-farm aspects of the project. This is especially so at the Koromiko site, which is part of the Taratahi Agricultural Centre.

AI has recently been completed at all of the five sites using semen from another 24 prominent industry rams.

Semen was also used from sires bred in the 1990s, in order to benchmark genetic improvement over time.

Students from Telford and Otago Polytechnic were invited to be involved in the AI programme at Onslow View.

AbacusBio consultant Nadia Mclean, who co-ordinates the two hill sites says that, “giving students the opportunity to participate in the programme gives them an insight into some of the onfarm research that is undertaken for the industry.

Each year we get more and more students wanting to be involved, which is a good sign that they really enjoy the experience.”

Telford rural technology students had enjoyed it so much that the project is now part of their annual course programme.

Telford course tutor, Ali Maw says that, “you can almost see it broadening some students’ minds, in terms of opening up other potential career opportunities that they hadn’t previously considered.”

Nadia says that, “it is great to be able to show the students the value of genetics to our industry but even more importantly to show them that we are a go-ahead industry”.

Perhaps a text to Nadia from Otago Polytechnic student, Nicola Brooks, sums it up the best.

“Thanks so much for having me today! It was such an awesome experience and really opened my eyes to the industry!”