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Liberty Genetics’ bull teams make major genetic gains

For Immediate Release

9 July 2014

Liberty Genetics’ bull teams make major genetic gains over past decade

Herd improvement company, Liberty Genetics, today released ten years of breeding worth (BW) statistics on its Jersey, Friesian and Crossbred bull teams.

The numbers show that the BW values of its bull teams are ranking well against the other top sire teams in the country.

Dr Dave Hayman, Liberty Genetics Manager of Genetic Development, said, “On average, across our three sire teams there’s only around five BW difference between our sire team and other top performing teams. This includes NZ Animal Evaluation’s adjustments for young bulls.”

Dr Hayman has overseen the company’s breeding programme since 2006. He said the most impressive statistics are for Liberty Genetics’ Jersey bull team, which show an average annual BW gain of $15 year-on-year over the past decade; a gain of 146 BW in ten years.

“Our team is right up with the top Jersey teams in New Zealand with the average BW for our 2014 Jersey bull team sitting at $243.”

BW is the basis on which New Zealand ranks dairy bulls and cows based on their expected ability to produce profitable and efficient replacements. The traits currently included in BW calculations are: protein, milkfat, milk volume, liveweight, fertility, residual survival and somatic cell count. (source:

Dr Hayman says Liberty Genetics’ BW improvements are impressive as its breeding programme is young compared to the industry, as it was only formed in 1998.

“When it comes to BW gain, the cow population lags behind the bulls. Cow population gains have typically been around nine to ten BW per year for the past ten to fifteen years. Whereas the New Zealand sire population has typically gained around twelve to thirteen BW per year over that same period.

“Liberty Genetics’ average BW gains of our bull teams continue to follow the bull population, gaining around twelve to thirteen BW year-on-year. However, since we only got started sixteen years ago, Liberty Genetics’ bull team look to be improving at a faster rate, which is quite an achievement,” said Dr Hayman.

In addition to its stand-out BW gains in its Jersey team, the BW statistics released by Liberty Genetics today also show solid gains for its Crossbred and Friesian bull teams over the past decade.

For the past ten years, Liberty Genetics’ Crossbred bull team has had an average annual year-on-year BW gain of $12 with a total gain of 121 BW. The average BW of its 2014 Crossbred bull team sits at $242.

Liberty Genetics’ Friesian bull team has had an average annual year-on-year BW gain of $13 over the past decade with a total gain of 131 BW. The average BW of its 2014 Friesian bull team is $228.

All three of the Liberty Genetics bull teams have also made useful gains in the conformation of the cow over the past decade.

“The udder overall breeding value is a conformation trait many farmers are conscious of and we’ve made a consistent and steady gain in udder breeding value in all three teams. In certain scenarios farmers can customise the team selection to maximise BW or specific conformation and management traits that suit their preferences,” said Dr Hayman.

The strategy for Liberty Genetics has always been to be the price conscious supplier of quality semen with the intention to sell semen straws for around 50% less than the industry average. Liberty Genetics General Manager, Craig Hemmings, said.

“With pay out tipped to decline and farmer budgets tightening, we’re seeing a lot more interest in Liberty Genetics. Our consistent BW gains and current ranking of our teams show farmers can typically maintain herd genetic gain with significant budget savings.

“Liberty Genetics is helping farmers keep up with the pace of the industry whilst balancing that against the cost of the investment in genetics,” Mr Hemmings explained.

- ENDS -

Summary of Liberty Genetics BW gains over past decade attached.

About Liberty Genetics
Liberty Genetics lead the industry by offering a different breeding philosophy compared to other New Zealand herd improvement companies. Its bull teams are now made up of 80% high merit young bulls and 20% higher reliability proven bulls.

Nine percent (9%) of Liberty Genetics’ young bulls are proven with BW rates on par with RAS list calibre. This is an industry leading graduation rate, with Liberty Genetics outperforming its market share by three (3) times.
When Liberty Genetics formed in 1998, no other company was actively selling young sires outside of organised progeny testing. Today, around 40% of the industry is using the young sire model and/or hybrid teams that include similar ratios of proven sires.

The company is wholly owned by CRV Holdings, the parent company of Hamilton-based CRV Ambreed.

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