Breeders forum3

Sheep and beef breeding

A team of AbacusBio consultants recently attended the inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics (BLG) Sheep Breeders’ Forum in Dunedin.

The two-day forum brought together over 120 breeders and industry participants, with a wide range of existing and future research projects discussed. A mixture of oral and poster presentations ensured there was plenty of time for both discussion and debate, with a positive buzz about the future of sheep and beef farming in New Zealand.

One of the key themes included the application of genomic technology – as it stands now and in the future – with a major focus on the re-development of the Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL) genetic engine.

The BLG Central Progeny Test programme was also highlighted, with Neville Jopson commenting on the development of the new “hill sites” for sheep and Jason Archer discussing potential progeny test sites for beef currently under evaluation.

Another major discussion point was user adoption and extension, which saw Peter Amer discussing plans for improvements to the SIL breeding indexes, Bruno Santos looking at options for commercial ewe recording, and Jude Sise presenting data on the value of genetic improvement from a commercial farmer’s perspective.

Peter Amer and Daniel Martin-Collado joined forces with Mark Young of BLG to run a “clicker session” where attendees were encouraged to vote on a range of issues such as farmer views and attitudes towards genetics.

Daniel also presented a poster on a BLG sociology research project that will be based on a wider online survey. The comprehensive survey (which is to be carried out soon) has been designed to capture the thoughts and views of up to 1000 commercial farmers and breeders on their on-farm breeding strategies and use of breeding tools.

Information collated from the survey will be used to ensure that the BLG programme is on target and continuously meets the needs of New Zealand’s sheep and beef industries.

View the poster presentation (TIF file:460KB)