More than 50 bulls have been nominated as sires for use in the Informing New Zealand Beef programme’s upcoming mating season, the highest number since the across-breed progeny test was launched in 2020.
Angus, Hereford and Simmental breeders have nominated 52 bulls for the 2023 mating of the programme’s across-breed Beef Progeny Test (BPT).
“We’re really pleased with the positive response from breeders,” said Dr Jason Archer, genetics specialist at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) and Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) science lead.
“It shows how serious farmers are about improving productivity and profitability in the beef sector. Ultimately, the BPT will play an important role in strengthening New Zealand’s beef industry for the benefit of all farmers.”
Archer said the programme will help evaluate good bulls while demonstrating the differences and similarities between the breeds and the benefits of hybrid vigour.
“The BPT is a key part of our mission to give breeders and farmers the tools to produce great-tasting beef backed by a strong environmental story, while at the same time improving production efficiency.”
The upcoming mating season will again be undertaken at Pāmu’s Kepler Farm near Te Anau and Lochinver Station near Taupō.
Breeders of bulls selected for use in the test will also be provided with detailed information about the performance of their bull’s progeny, including data on growth, fertility and carcase traits.
The INZB BPT builds on data gathered from the previous BTP with mating carried out between 2014-2019 on several large-scale commercial cattle operations throughout the country.
On Kepler Farm, Hereford and Angus cows are run side by side with crosses undertaken both ways. Lochinver Station joined the programme as a Progeny Test host farm last year, enabling Simmental genetics to be included in the BPT for the first time.
INZB is a seven-year Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures partnership supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries, BLNZ and the New Zealand Meat Board, which aims to boost the sector’s profits by $460 million over the next 25 years.
The objectives of the programme are to develop a beef genetic evaluation system that includes traits that are important to NZ beef farmers and supports a sustainable beef farming industry.
It is also creating easy-to-use tools that enable data to be efficiently collected, managed, analysed and used by farmers to make profitable decisions for their operation, creating a new approach to extension design with the goal of increasing farmer engagement across the industry.