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Research & Development portfolio leverages funds

Research & Development portfolio leverages funds to improve results for farmers

The launch of the new Forage Master tool to help farmers select better pastures was one of several success stories for Meat & Wool New Zealand in its first year, Chief Executive Mark Jeffries said today releasing the financial results for the year.

“Meat & Wool New Zealand through consultation with farmers and industry devotes half of its expenditure toward research and development. Ideas for projects are worked up through advisory groups for each area of research that monitor projects to ensure milestones are met,” he said.

Forage Master is a software tool which allows farmers to identify from a vast number of species and cultivars the best seed mix options for their environment. “This has been a long-term project, funded over more than five years, and has successfully developed into a decision-making tool for farmers,” he said.

“The first workshops to be held in the North Island have been booked out and we plan to run more there and around the country. Clearly this shows we are meeting a farmer demand for this type of research outcome,” he said.

Meat & Wool New Zealand, in conjunction with meat companies, funded research which resulted in new technology being trialled by meat plants in the 2003-04 year. The Smart Stimulation System which enables the treatment of individual lamb and beef carcases in a way that maximises quality attributes including tenderness, colour and texture is undergoing commercial validation.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has since joined Meat & Wool New Zealand this year to fund continuing research on the system, and the two organisations have entered into a three-year agreement to research new technologies that will improve meat tenderness.

Meat & Wool New Zealand has also committed funds to research techniques to minimise meat contamination, and technologies to extend chilled meat storage.

Mr Jeffries said farmers were eager for information and progress on internal parasites. Much on-going research was being carried out to improve farmers’ understanding and knowledge of the fundamental biology of internal parasites and diseases, and this included working with MLA.

Meat & Wool New Zealand is partnering with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) in research aimed at reducing the costs of wool harvesting and attracting more shearers to the profession. Meat & Wool New Zealand will contribute $AUS1.5 million to AWI’s $AUS14.5 million three-year wool harvesting research and development programme which includes upright shearing technologies.

“Our collaborations with Australia prevents duplication of research and development projects and means better value for levy payers’ investment. We can stretch the value of the levy paid by our farmers by joining with others and we will continue to look for opportunities to do so,” he said.

Meat & Wool New Zealand was continuing to fund research and development through partnership in various consortia, including in sheep genetics with Ovita Ltd, Meat Biologics, Pastoral Genomics, and Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research.

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