Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Calf collection paves way for fertility project

Calf collection paves way for fertility project

A huge logistical exercise that involved collecting hundreds of calves from farms all over the North Island has set the scene for a ground-breaking research programme aimed at lifting fertility rates in the dairy industry.

In recent weeks, heifer calves from 619 farms across Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawke's Bay have been collected so that they can be reared and milked together as one herd. The "Animal Model" research herd will comprise equal numbers of Holstein Friesian calves with very high and very low fertility genetics, carefully selected from contract matings in spring last year and purchased from farmers by DairyNZ.

To ensure the calves are raised in controlled, identical conditions, calves needed to be collected within one to two weeks of birth. The calves are being reared together at a property in Te Awamutu to around 13 weeks of age before being moved to a large grazing property further north. The aim is to have at least 200 high fertility and 220 low fertility heifers calving in 2017.Each animal will be monitored and tests performed throughout growth, puberty, and first and second lactation as researchers look to understand more clearly what drives fertility.

DairyNZ senior scientist Susanne Meier says one of the key objectives of the Achieving Reproductive Targets programme is to discover any new traits that could be measured in heifers and would be good predictors of their eventual fertility.

"If we have a better understanding of the genetic drivers of fertility in our cows, then we can be more targeted in our breeding selections, and achieve faster gain," she says.

This could contribute to increasing the heritability of the fertility breeding value (BV), one of seven traits that make up the Breeding Worth, a selection index that ranks animals for their genetic ability to breed profitable replacements for a dairy herd.

"There's potentially a huge financial gain if we can improve reliability and breed more effectively for fertility.

"A good example may be if we found that the high fertility heifers displayed stronger heats. This is a trait that farmers can measure, and if it were a key driver for fertility, we could use that information to improve the fertility BV."

In addition to improving genetic selection for fertility, DairyNZ senior scientist and project leader Chris Burke says this purpose-bred herd will enable a thorough understanding of why some cows are easy to get back in-calf and why others are a real struggle.

"We have a group of world experts in fertility champing at the bit to use this herd to find answers," he says.

The project is part of a wider research programme funded across the dairy sector, known as Pillars of a Sustainable Dairy System.

This includes the Lifetime Productivity programme, led by DairyNZ senior scientist Claire Phyn, which focuses on premature death, involuntary culling and health-related productivity losses in dairy cows.

Between them, inefficiencies in fertility and lifetime productivity are estimated to cost the industry well over a billion dollars a year.

The Pillars of a Sustainable Dairy System programme is funded by DairyNZ with matched co-funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and funding and resources from AgResearch, Fonterra, LIC and CRV.

The research team led by DairyNZ involves AgResearch, AbacusBio, Victoria University Wellington, Cognosco (a division of Anexa Animal Health), University of Queensland, Massey University, Monash University, University of Auckland, VetSouth and New Zealand Animal Evaluation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Mining: OceanaGold Announces Receipt Of WKP Mining Permit

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 6, 2020 /CNW/ - OceanaGold Corporation (TSX: OGC) (ASX: OGC) (the 'Company') is pleased to announce it has received the mining permit for Wharekirauponga ('WKP') on the North Island of New Zealand. ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: COVID-19 Lockdown Has Widespread Effects On Labour Market

In the June 2020 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, down from 4.2 percent last quarter, while underutilisation rose, Stats NZ said today. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Post: New Research By NZ Post Shows Online Shopping Grew 105% In Alert Level 3

New research by NZ Post into how the COVID-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shop online, shows online shopping increased 105%* when the country moved into Alert Level 3, and may have changed the way Kiwis shop permanently. Online spend peaked ... More>>

ALSO:

Banking: Westpac NZ Lowers Merchant Fees For Small Businesses

Westpac NZ is rolling out a new merchant fee pricing structure that will lead to cost savings for more than 10,000 small and medium Kiwi businesses, and could make contactless transactions more widely available for customers. On 1 September, most ... More>>

REINZ: Million Dollar Plus Property Sales Increase 11.7% Nationally

The number of properties sold around the country for one million dollars or more during the first half (H1) of 2020 increased by 11.7% compared to H1 2019, with 5,426 million-dollar plus properties sold (up from 4,858 in H1 2019) according to the Real ... More>>

Waste: Government To Regulate Plastic Packaging, Tyres, E-Waste

The Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they become waste. As part of the wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills, ... More>>

ALSO:


Antarctica NZ: Ice-Olation

Antarctica New Zealand is gearing up for a much reduced season on the ice this year and a very different deployment to normal! Before they head to one of the remotest places on the planet, all personnel flying south with the New Zealand programme will ... More>>

ALSO:

QV Valuations: July House Price Index Illustrates Market Resilience

According to the July 2020 QV House Price Index (HPI) results out today , property values recorded a marginal increase, up 0.2% over the month. This is somewhat of a turnaround from June, after the national index edged 0.2% lower. More>>

ALSO:

Property: Queenstown Rents Experience Biggest Drop In Seven Years

Rental prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district saw the biggest annual percentage drop in seven years after falling 28 per cent on June last year, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said ... More>>

Seismology: The Quiet Earth

As many daily activities came to a halt during lockdown, the Earth itself became quiet, probably quieter than it has been since humans developed the technology to listen in. Seismologists have analysed datasets from more than 300 international ... More>>

RNZ: James Shaw Says Kiwibank, Not Ministers Should Decide On Investors

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Kiwibank's decision to stop doing business with companies dealing in fossil fuels is the right one. More>>

ALSO:

FMA: Kiwis Confident Financial Markets Will Recover From COVID-19, Plan To Increase Investments

Despite the majority (60%) of investors experiencing losses as a result of COVID-19, the outlook on investing remains positive, according to a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) survey. Most Kiwis (71%) were optimistic that the pandemic will pass eventually ... More>>

FIRST Union: Warehouse Using Covid For Cover As Extensive Restructure Makes Everyone Worse Off

(FIRST Union comments on The Warehouse consultation and proposed restructure) 'Unfortunately the Warehouse have done the disappointing thing and used Covid-19 to justify a bunch of operational business decisions that will leave hundreds of workers without jobs ... More>>

ALSO: