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New GM for gene scheme

2 October 2000

Farm media and daily media farm editors

New GM for gene scheme
(About 450 words)

Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL) has found its first full-time general manager.
Dr George Cruickshank will take up the reins of the sheep industry’s genetic database this month, in time for the ram selling season.
SIL board chairman Lochie MacGillivray says that now SIL is a commercial reality, a full-time general manager is essential to exploit the business opportunities.
Cruickshank brings to the job a sound knowledge of genetics and agriculture. He has an agriculture degree from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and a PhD in animal science from Lincoln University.
He has been involved in private research and consultancy for seven years, recently on contract for SIL in the field of genetics. Before that he worked for AgResearch at Ruakura and in Hawkes Bay.
Cruickshank says he’s been interested in SIL since its inception. His first task, he says, will be to complete phase two of the project – communicating with breeder groups to further enhance SIL’s capabilities.
“The beauty of SIL is that it’s built around what its users want to get out of it,” he says.
“The SIL system provides unlimited opportunities. We’ll be talking with breeders as to how they want to see SIL develop.”
WoolPro research manager, and former SIL general manager Ken Geenty will be retained to assist with the ongoing developmental aspects of the SIL. He was appointed as general manager on a part-time basis two years ago, with a mandate to steer the venture through its research and development phase.

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New GM 2

With Phase 1 complete, MacGillivray says the groundwork has been laid to work through the challenges that lie ahead.
“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 says.
Winning the commitment of the Animal Breeding Trust will be the final jewel in SIL’s crown. SIL has now addressed the bureau’s concerns about security of data, and hopes to have breeders on board later this year, MacGillivray says.
Meanwhile WoolPro and Meat New Zealand, SIL’s shareholders, have pledged support for its three-year business plan, which spells out the need to get breeders and farmers using the system. It also outlines how advances in technology will be captured as they come on-stream, to make SIL better still.
George Cruickshank will be based in Napier, where he lives with his wife and four children.

[ends story]

For more information, please contact
Lochie MacGillivray, Tel 06 874 6681, or
George Cruickshank, Tel 06 874 7859.

News editors:
A JPEG photo of George Cruickshank is available on request. Email Greer Schick ( or Trevor Walton (


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