Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Sharon McIntyre appointed manager for DEERSelect

Sharon McIntyre has been appointed manager of DEERSelect, a system to evaluate the genetic worth of stags.

Sharon McIntyre: Runs deer, sheep and beef property near Gore with husband Peter.

The newly created position is an exciting opportunity, McIntyre says, and fits in well with her professional skill set and background.

The Lincoln University Agricultural Science graduate, who recently completed a Master of Animal Science degree, has provided technical assistance to Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL) for five years.

She says the DEERSelect role is a logical step and a way to contribute to the improvement of deer genetics.

“It’s a small and determined industry and genetics is the cornerstone for improving productivity.”

The role will include co-ordination of the deer progeny testing programme, as well as steering development of a national breeding objective for deer and delivering the required genetics through DEERSelect. The dairy industry recently completed a similar exercise and McIntyre believes the deer-equivalent is possible due to the excellent communication channels within the industry.

“Venison is obviously going to be a strong cornerstone of any model, with some velvet capacity.”

DEERSelect, launched in 2005 and funded by DEEResearch Ltd, helps breeders and buyers select sires on genetic merit by providing economic indices information and production-based breed values. Presently 20 Red deer herds record with DEERSelect and to date the system has helped bring about a six to eight kilogram carcase weight gain at 12 months.

A major updating of DEERSelect will happen in the near future, with the inclusion of more recent product prices.

 “Many of the prices used in the indices have changed, but even when we do change them it’s the relativity that’s the important thing.”    

She’s keen to encourage greater use of the system that she agrees is not well understood by a lot of breeders and buyers.

“There is a lack of knowledge but with updating and the support of a good robust system that’s trusted by breeders and buyers we can drive further improvement … we need to grow the emphasis on buying animals with proven genetics and growth.”

McIntyre and husband Peter run deer, sheep and beef on 190 hectares at Benio, near Gore. Other agri-related involvements include board membership of Telford, a role she has held for nine years but will relinquish to concentrate on her new job.

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