Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Facing Facial Eczema and Raising the Bar

Media Release
4 November 2013

Facing Facial Eczema and Raising the Bar

New Zealand’s largest red meat genetics company is raising the bar in an effort to reduce the impact of facial eczema heading south and becoming more prevalent throughout New Zealand.

Focus Genetics chief executive Gavin Foulsham says they are upping the game and testing more sheep than ever before to breed rams which are resistant to facial eczema.

“We have been testing for facial eczema resistance for over 20 years and we are now seeing the benefit of continued selection. But we need to keep improving our genetics and keep on top of facial eczema, which is becoming more prevalent in many areas throughout the North Island.

“Facial eczema resistance is a highly heritable trait so farmers can significantly manage the disease in their ewe flocks by selecting for facial eczema tolerant rams.”

Facial Eczema is a disease which animals pick up by ingesting fungal spores in the pasture. It attacks the liver and affects their metabolism. The disease impacts on fertility, meat production, wool production and growth rates as well as animal welfare. In a bad year a farmer could lose a significant number of their ewe flock as animals die.

Focus Genetics Senior Animal Breeding Scientist Geoff Nicoll says the company has tested its Romney rams extensively over the last 23 years and its Highlander rams over the last 6 years.

“We test mainly young rams as ram hoggets in autumn and we use the selected rams to sire the next generation. This ensures we are getting better genetic resistance. We test more rams than any breeder in the country which gives us high selection pressure.”

And the intensive programme is paying off with SIL ranking Focus Genetics rams as the top five highest facial eczema resistant rams in the country recently.

Facial eczema is most prevalent in late summer and early autumn when the weather conditions are more humid. It’s a real concern in areas like Northland, the central and upper North Island as well as the East Coast.

King Country farmer Roger Beck has been using facial eczema resistant rams over his Romney ewe flock for 20 years and says he has never had a problem with the diseases even though it’s highly prevalent in the Taumarunui area where he farms.

“Facial eczema tolerant rams have always been a priority for us and now we have a flock which is resistant to facial eczema. It’s a disease which limits production significantly, so if you can do something about it, you should.”

Mr Beck runs 3300 Romney ewes and uses both Romney and Primera rams, both breeds sourced from Focus Genetics

“This combination works really well because we can get the high fertility and facial eczema resistance through the Romney and then we get the high yield and high growth rates from the Primera too.”

Mr Beck generally docks about 155 percent each year and despite the drought, he’s on target to crack it again this year.

“It’s all very well to have facial eczema resistant sheep but you never want to do anything at the expense of production. We are getting great results in all areas and maintaining strong production so we couldn’t be happier with our Focus Genetics rams.”

Focus Genetics Romney breeder, Ken Burt says Facial Eczema has always been a prime driver on his Romney stud.

“We need to be so much more conscious these days because there are facial eczema hot spots all over the country. If sheep are susceptible to facial eczema they won’t perform, so we have a very advanced programme which works well.”

Mr Burt says he sells over 1000 eczema resistant rams each year and they are becoming increasingly popular as farmers try to combat the disease.

“We have made a significant difference. Our Romney rams are now 6 times more resistant to facial eczema than they were 20 years ago.

“The more farmers can be educated about this the better. Facial eczema is a terrible disease that will keep raising its ugly head if we don’t keep raising the bar.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news