$1 Million a Year for Beef Genetics Programme

In a decision which is subject to consultation with farmers, the New Zealand Meat Board has announced it is investing up to $1 million a year in the Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) genetics programme.

The decision means the meat board will join the Ministry for Primary Industries and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) in supporting the seven-year Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) partnership.

The partnership aims to increase the sector’s profits by $460million over the next 25 years.

The INZB programme is focused on increasing the use of genetics in the beef industry. The programme’s five main components are building a genetic evaluation and data infrastructure, progeny test herds, developing breeding objectives and indexes, developing new data sources and supporting farmer uptake of new genetic information.

B+LNZ Genetics is using its experience of building a genetic engine for sheep to build a similar engine for beef, combining phenotypic, genotypic and genomic data to calculate breeding values for agreed traits. This will give commercial farmers the ability to quickly and easily source the right genetics for their environment and farm and drive greater profitability.

The meat board’s objective was to manage quotas in export markets to help achieve the best possible returns and manage industry reserves, board chairman Andrew Morrison said.

The meat board has been one of the funding partners for B+LNZ Genetics for seven years. It has previously helped fund development of projects such as B+LNZ Genetics’ sheep development, in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The board holds the residual funds from the old Producer Board. A lump sum is held to reopen markets for New Zealand meat products in the event of a market access challenge, such as foot and mouth disease, while the interest is applied to industry good projects.