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Action Station - Country Calendar

To catch a glimpse of life here at Waikura Station you can watch our episode of Country Calendar here

More muscling reduces dark cutting

Exciting new research conducted at Western Australia’s Murdoch University by Peter McGilchrist and his colleagues has shown that increased muscling decreases the incidence of dark cutting.

This research is of significant value when the estimated cost of dark cutting carcases in Australia is around $35 million per year.  “Dark cutting meat is dry to taste, spoils very quickly, has variable tenderness and is very dark in colour,” said Peter McGilchrist. 

If muscling (EMA) is increased to an above average level (greater than 70cm2 for a 250kg carcase) the risk of dark cutting should be greatly minimised.  “To achieve this, producers should utilise sires with an estimated breeding value (EBV) for EMA higher than the average,” Farm Online.

To read the full article, visit The Land Farm Online

Hereford Prime Beef Supreme

Hereford Prime was named Grand Champion Brand at this year's Steak of Origin final event.  It seems that Hereford cattle are the best bet when it comes to achieving consistent unrivalled quality.  Secure yourself a Hereford bull at this year's sale and be part of the breed that is leaping ahead.  Congratulations Bowmont Wholesale Meats.  Visit the Hereford Prime website

Hereford sired cattle more profitable

The value of cross breeding with a Hereford bull has been proven in a recent American research project, where Hereford sired cattle were US$30 per head more profitable.

Read the full report

Agri Events

Keep up to date and view the latest Agricultural events in and around your region at the NZ Farmers Weekly NZX Agri Events page.

 

 

 

The role of Genomics in our beef industry

Will genomic testing be fundamental for stud cattle breeders in New Zealand in the short, medium or long term?

This was a question I found myself asking after reading an article published in the Queensland Country Life newspaper on 14th February 2012 titled “Beef breeders jump on genomics revolution”.

Australia is following the lead of America and embarking on a 3000 animal project aimed at speeding up the rate of genetic gain through genomic predictions.  Technology in this area is continually improving and becoming more accurate particularly since the sequencing of the bovine genome. 

The project involves genotyping 3000 young cattle identify genetic qualities of hard-to measure traits such as carcase quality, feed intake and fertility and predicting their breeding value.  This information will then be blended with EBV information, consequently developing ‘blended genomic breeding values’.  The accuracy of the blended genomic breeding values will be announced in May this year.

If the blended information is shown to be robust it will not only improve the accuracy of all Breedplan traits but also help stud and commercial bull buyers identify with greater confidence which bulls will be most suitable for their production systems.

Furthermore, it is hoped that this project will create more affordable genetic testing options for Australian breeders and thus increase the usage of genomics.  A more extensive usage on a wider range of traits will ultimately have a more significant impact on the accuracy of EBV’s and therefore provide the potential for faster rates of genetic improvement.

Back to my original question, will genomic testing be fundamental for stud cattle breeders in New Zealand in the short, medium or long term?

What I would like to see in New Zealand and what I believe will be reality are quite different at this point.  I would like to see significant uptake in the short term but I tend to think that it will be more realistically long term. 

Why should it be short term?  Genomics have the ability to create a very clear picture of an animal's breeding potential at a much younger age and because of this, breeders can make much faster genetic progress.  If stud breeders can make faster genetic progress on traditionally hard to measure but very economic traits such as feed intake, carcase merit and fertility the faster this will filter into the commercial beef herd.  In theory, filtering these genetics through into the commercial beef herd should make it a more productive, economical and sustainable industry.

Taking it one step further, cattle farmers would be better able to market their product to abattoirs at a higher price due to the genetic information about carcase merit.  A little pie in the sky you’ll be thinking – probably right but dreams have to start somewhere!

Why the large scale use of genomics is most likely to be long term.  Currently in New Zealand there really isn’t any incentive or need for most stud breeders to use it as bull buying customers are not demanding it.  Many breeders will also see it as just another costly exercise when we already have a great EBV system of information.  Because of this, the price of testing will not be reduced to a level that is economical across a whole herd. 

Therefore, I feel that in the short to medium term there may be a select few New Zealand breeders that will utilise this technology if they can see a niche market for doing so, but hopefully in the long term taking DNA from beef cattle will be just like weaning calves – routine. 

Click here to read the full article in Queensland Country Life or here for a report on the Beef CRC website

 


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Sam and Gemma Hain
06 867 8097
sam.gemma.hain@gmail.com
Sid and Merran Hain
06 862 8096
s_hain@xtra.co.nz