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

 

Tax: GST Threshold For Online Purchases Won't Lower Before 2018

The government wants to lower the threshold on online purchases which qualify for GST from mid-2018, but says more work is needed and there will be no change without public consultation. More>>

ALSO:

North Canterbury: Government Extends Drought Classification

The government has extended a drought classification for the eastern South Island until the end of the year, meaning the area will have officially been in drought for almost two years, the longest period for such a category. More>>

ALSO:

Negotiations Fail: Christchurch Convention Centre Build To Proceed Without PCNZ

After protracted negotiations, the government has ditched the construction consortium it picked to build Christchurch's replacement convention centre, which it now anticipates delivering at least two years behind the original schedule. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: Greenpeace Launches Legal Challenge Against $1b Dam Plan

Greenpeace NZ is launching a legal challenge against a controversial plan to build a dam that’s set to cost close to $1 billion and will pollute a region’s rivers. More>>

ALSO:

Inequality: Top 10% Of Housholds Have Half Of Total Net Worth

The average New Zealand household was worth $289,000 in the year to June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. However wealth was not evenly distributed, with the top 10 percent accounting for around half of total wealth. In contrast, the bottom 40 percent held 3 percent of total wealth. More>>

ALSO:

What Winter? Temperature Records Set For June 20-22

The days around the winter soltice produced a number of notably warm tempertaures. More>>

Conservation Deal: New Kākāpō Recovery Partnership Welcomed

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the new kakapo recovery partnership between DOC and Meridian Energy is great news for efforts to save one of New Zealand’s most beloved birds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news