Genetic selection tools

Newsarticles & media

25 Apr 12

Genetic selection tools help to realise the productive potential of our animals.

New Zealand has some fantastic technical advances available to help farmers, thanks to leading edge genetic selection research.

So says Ovita board member and sheep breeder Robin Campbell, who has seen considerable advances in genetic selection tools over several decades of sheep farming.

"Lynley and I recognised early in our farming career that there were specific production traits we needed in our sheep. We had particular problems with the fecundity and management requirements of our flock. Stock were initially judged via eye appraisal before the first recording programme Sheep Plan enabled breeders such as us to identify outliers."

Each development in performance recording has enabled more accurate decision-making, fast-tracking improvements in lamb growth, ewe fecundity and milk production, which in Robin's case, allowed the farm to create a better match between feed demand and feed production. It also helped develop the farm's successful TEFRom composite which, despite being a small breed, is rating well in the Advanced Central Evaluation, a comparison of animals across flocks and across breeds. "It is because we are generating so much information that we are able to make better decisions all the time, and make them earlier in an animal's life."

Now, Ovita's new generation genetic selection tools make genetic selection considerably easier, quicker and ever more accurate.

The parentage test, a couple of muscling tests and a test for entropin are just the beginning of an ever expanding suite.

"It's had a massive impact on the breeding industry already. It's exciting to be involved in the business and see the difference it is making as farmers capitalise on the research and maximise their investment."

This technology is a result of New Zealand farmer investment in Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Ovita.

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