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Full-time GM for gene scheme

16 June 2000

Farm media and daily media farm editors

Full-time GM for gene scheme
[about 435 words]

Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL), the new national sheep genetic database, is looking for its first full-time general manager.

Shareholders Meat New Zealand and WoolPro will advertise the position shortly, with the aim of having the position filled well before the start of the next ram selling season.

WoolPro research manager Ken Geenty is the current general manager. He was appointed on a part-time basis two years ago, with a mandate to steer the venture through its research and development phase.

Now that SIL is a commercial reality, board chairman Lochie MacGillivray says a full-time general manager is essential to exploit the business opportunities.
“Ken has done an excellent job getting the venture up and running and winning the commitment of flock recording bureaus. He can take considerable pride in what he has achieved,” he said.
“Also, in light of recent changes in science funding policies, he is needed full-time in his technology development and transfer role at WoolPro.”
MacGillivray said sheep farmers had created a very valuable asset through their investment in SIL.
“The challenge now is to build the business and extract its full potential for the benefit of the sheep industry,” he commented.
SIL has been designed to help farmers greatly increase the rate of genetic gain in their flocks. It was launched late last year as the world’s largest sheep recording scheme and genetic database.

More …
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By the end of May, according to Mr MacGillivray, it had processed records for more than 400 ram breeder flocks and 160,000 animals nationwide. Some 40 million breeding values had been generated in the process.
“Indexes for new disease traits are being developed as well. One for facial eczema tolerance is expected soon, followed by an index for InnerVision CT scans of ram lean-muscling,” he said.
“Traits for other diseases such as footrot resistance are also in the pipeline.”
The SIL website, at, received a face-lift in April and by October, the start of the ram selling season, it will host home pages for participating ram breeders.

Mr MacGillivray said commercial farmers should be thinking now of using SIL reports and information as the basis for making ram purchases next season.

“If you want to make genetic progress you must be able to objectively compare the breeding values of the rams on offer. You also need to know the breeder’s flock is making genetic progress.

“SIL reports enable you to do this. Without them, you might as well be buying a pig in a poke.”


For more information, please contact
Lochie MacGillivray, Tel 06 874 6681

Note to subeditors
Photos of Ken Geenty and Lochie MacGillivray are available by e-mail. Please contact:
Trevor Walton or Greer Schick, Tel 04 473 9243

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