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NZ joins leading world beef research programme

17 March 2005

New Zealand joins leading world beef research programme

New Zealand is to join an international programme using the world’s best beef researchers in a seven-year project aimed at improving beef quality for domestic and international markets.

Meat & Wool New Zealand is investing $NZ2m over seven years in a new $AU120m Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Beef Genetics Technologies from July this year. The investment was announced jointly with the Australian-based Beef CRC at Meat & Wool New Zealand’s Growing the Future Conference today.

It’s the first time New Zealand has joined the Australian-based Beef CRC, which has been researching ways to better understand the factors influencing beef quality for the past 13 years. Meat & Wool New Zealand Chief Executive Mark Jeffries said the CRC gave New Zealand access to the best beef research talent in Australia, Korea, New Zealand, and also selected American scientists.

“It gives us the opportunity to join a world-leading research programme and access to all the results that it delivers for New Zealand farmers. It is a research investment that we could not fund alone”. “Ultimately the aims are to produce more cattle that meet market specifications for quality beef, enhancing farmer profits, and to reduce farmer costs by developing more productive and efficient cattle” he said.

Beef CRC Chief Executive Professor Bernie Bindon said the new CRC focussed on gene discovery and expression. “This means taking cattle breeding to a new level of sophistication by finding genes that control beef production traits.” The project would identify gene markers which could test for beef quality, feed efficiency, disease resistance and reproduction performance, he said.

The Centre’s recognition of the need to integrate genetics, nutrition and meat science in studies of pedigree cattle from Australian seedstock herds led to the establishment of the world’s largest progeny test for meat quality traits. The CRC also initiated world-class research in molecular biology, designed to identify gene markers and candidate genes for carcase and meat quality attributes.

Mr Jeffries said being involved in the Beef CRC was a good opportunity for New Zealand. “It’s great that we can participate in this programme and give our farmers the opportunity to benefit from cutting edge research in the production of high quality beef,” Mr Jeffries said.

ENDS

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