Friday, July 8, 2022

Terminal sire

Since its introduction to New Zealand almost 40 years ago, the Limousin breed has firmly established itself as a terminal sire. Temperament and genetics have steadily improved, and this year Limousin New Zealand celebrates its 40th anniversary. The breed society formed in 1973, coinciding with a shift in government policy to allow imports of exotic European breeds to broaden the genetic base in New Zealand. Limousin New Zealand secretary Gary Kennett said Limousin cattle, originating from central France, were tough, feed efficient, high-yielding animals that worked well as a terminal sire, particularly over British breeds.

The newly established Limousin Society managed to convince the NZ director of agriculture to allow the import of 10 Limousin heifers.

Eight farmers expressed interest in buying one or more heifers, some costing up to $5000 each.

 

Limousin bull trials began 19 years ago in the North Island.

Breeders are encouraged to enter one or two of their best weaner bull calves, which are evaluated monthly by weight, structure, docility score and scrotum measurement.

Trial bulls are scanned for eye muscle and fat cover and DNA-tested to ensure they carry no known genetic disorders.

Those that meet the standard are offered for sale the following year.

Some bulls are also tested for the myostatin gene, to see if they carry one, two or no copies of the gene.

Kennett said the F94L gene was a moderate myostatin mutation, prevalent in 98% of Limousins, adding more muscle fibre, making meat more tender.

“Ideally you want two copies and it doesn’t have adverse effects on other traits like birth weight.”

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