Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


NZ Sheep Genetics Could Improve UK Sheep Industry

Media Release

6th December 2012

NZ Sheep Genetics Could Improve UK Sheep Industry


A Marks and Spencer sustainable lamb trial suggests New Zealand sheep genetics could improve the UK sheep industry efficiency.

Research commissioned by Marks & Spencer has found that the use of New Zealand sheep genetics could offer sustainability benefits for UK sheep farmers.

The work, which was jointly conducted by the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), investigated the merits of using Highlander and Primera sheep breeds in UK sheep flocks to maximise value in the supply chain through increased lamb output and reduced production and processing costs. The study was also supported by Focus Genetics and Linden Foods.

Trials took place on two upland flocks belonging to the Buccleuch Group and compared a ‘typical’ UK production system of Mule and Texel x Mule ewes, with Highlander and Highlander x Blackface ewes to represent different replacement breeding strategies.

These ewes were crossed with Texel rams, to represent a typical UK terminal sire, as well as UK-bred and NZ-bred Primera rams. Performance was recorded throughout the production and processing cycle, finishing with an evaluation of meat-eating quality using consumer taste panels.

The trial concluded that increasing lamb output and production efficiency by switching from Mule to Highlander ewes offered the opportunity to develop a more sustainable lamb supply chain through reducing on farm costs and greenhouse gas emissions, whilst maintaining product quality, processing efficiency and meat eating quality. Replacing Texel rams with Primera resulted in faster growth rates and a higher proportion of high-value cuts.

Commenting on the results of the trial, AFBI scientist, Dr Ronald Annett, said:

“The Highlander ewe showed excellent fertility and rearing ability and the Primera-sired lambs portrayed superior growth rates and had higher wholesale value.”

“Hopefully this study will make UK farmers think about what drives their returns. It highlights the importance of production efficiency, rather than focusing solely on lamb price or carcass conformation. The trial has demonstrated the importance of maternal genetics in driving production and we hope farmers will take this on board.”

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture & Fisheries Sourcing at M&S, added:

“For a number of years commercial volatility has seen increasing numbers of sheep producers leaving the industry in the UK. We commissioned this work as one of our PaceSetter projects within our Farming for the Future programme. Over the last seven years we have worked with Focus Genetics and a number of UK farmers to try to replicate their successful New Zealand lamb production model in the UK.

“We recognise that there are a large number of different production systems in the UK and this trial is simply about establishing baseline information to allow producers to make their own informed decisions on the production model that best suits their farm.”

Bayden Wilson, Focus Genetics UK Manager, concluded:

“We welcome the results of the study and hope it will encourage more UK farmers to invest in Focus Genetics breeds. We would like to grow our UK business and we hope farmers will convert after seeing such positive scientific results from New Zealand sheep breeds. As the world seeks more sustainable food production, our genetics are obviously well placed to help farmers improve on-farm efficiency.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Embrace Falling Home Affordability, Says NZIER

Despair over the inability to afford a house is misplaced and should be embraced as an opportunity to invest in more wealth-creating activity, says the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub. More>>

Productivity Commission: NZ Regulation Not Keeping Pace

New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. More>>

ALSO:

Callaghan Innovation: Investment To Help Deepen Innovation Reporting

Callaghan Innovation, the government’s high tech HQ for Kiwi business, is to help deepen New Zealand media coverage of the commercialisation of innovation through an arms-length partnership with independent business news service BusinessDesk. More>>

ALSO:

Tax Credits, Grants: Greens $1Bn R&D Plan

In the Party’s headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more innovative economy which has as its centrepiece an additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business. More>>

ALSO:

Inflation: CPI Increases 0.3 Percent In June Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the June 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows rises of 0.3 percent the March quarter and 0.1 percent in the December 2013 quarter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news