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

 

Group of sheep breeders running parasite resistant stock

A group of leading sheep breeders have formed WormFEC Gold to show farmers that breeding for parasite resistant genetics will strengthen flocks and save time and money on-farm.

Growing concerns from farmers around increasing levels of drench resistance, rising farming input costs, and issues getting farm labour have prompted 10 WormFEC breeders from across New Zealand to join forces. The breeders’ group brings together more than 200 years combined experience breeding highly productive, parasite resistant rams.

Chairman Robert Peacock of Orari Gorge Station in South Canterbury said the WormFEC Gold group aims to show farmers that breeding sheep for parasite resistance is achievable and will save farmers time and money. He said breeding animals with natural resistance to parasites is part of the long-term sustainable solution for parasite management.

He said farmers who focus their breeding program on parasite resistance would strengthen their flock with animals that required less drench, reducing the risk of drench resistance and increasing farm profitability. What’s more, having parasite resistant stock reduces workload.

Reducing on-farm costs is essential for farmers as they face increasing economic pressure. The Sainsbury’s FECPAKG2 Project (2014 - 2017) showed the average NZ sheep farmer producing 5,000 lambs can lose up to $75,000 annually due to reduced lamb growth rates from using a drench that does not work. Best practice parasite management alongside a focus on breeding for parasite resistance, can reduce drench usage and is key to avoiding this problem and the associated loss of income.

He says breeders can select stock for parasite resistance using PhenR and WormFEC through service provider Techion. Farmers who want the guarantee of parasite resistant rams to incorporate these genetics into their flock can find WormFEC Gold breeders on SIL.

“Sheep can be labour intensive to farm and some farmers are bringing lambs in every three weeks to drench as well as drenching adult ewes. With a parasite resistant flock, drenching could be reduced to only once or twice in a lamb’s life, which is a huge saving in time and cost for a farmer. It's a massive reduction in workload for farmers who are looking for ways to improve their lifestyle and profitability,” Robert said.

Gordon Levet, a WormFEC Gold member with 31 years experience breeding parasite-resistant sheep, said when enough ram breeders are breeding sheep with a high degree of parasite resistance then we will see an impact on the national flock. For individual farmers this will mean savings in labour and costs because they won’t need to drench as often – and for some, possibly never.

He believed it was the right time to improve education for New Zealand sheep farmers as a number of factors make breeding for parasite resistance vital. Climate change and more humid conditions mean that parasite populations have increased and the danger period for sheep has been extended. Flocks are more susceptible to internal parasites because drenching programmes are leading to the development of drench resistant parasites. On top of this, global consumers are demanding fewer chemicals in the food chain, so it’s vital that New Zealand farmers meet the market.

Robert Peacock continued; “International and domestic markets are expressing increased concern about the security of their supply chain and consumers are demanding fewer chemicals in their food. There is no overnight fix for creating a parasite resistant flock, so even if it takes a decade for supermarket chains to demand drench free animals we need to start work with our sheep genetics now. Parasite resistance is a heritable trait that can be introduced into the national flock if all breeders and farmers work together, record their genetics and use drench accordingly”, he said.

“Even without a change imposed by international supermarkets, this change is essential for the farmer not looking to drench every three weeks for the rest of their working life - breeding parasite resistance into sheep has a huge benefit for them by reducing their work.”

“For years our members have been breeding for parasite resistance using WormFEC,” he said. WormFEC evaluates the natural parasite resistance of rams through the New Zealand sheep industry’s performance recording and genetic evaluation database – Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL). The SIL database uses faecal egg count (FEC) data to generate estimated breeding values (EBV’s), so they can rank and selectively breed stock with superior genetics. Collectively, WormFEC Gold members have taken over 65,000 FEC samples, with an average of 300 FEC samples each per year. Members work closely with Techion, providers of the PhenR and WormFEC service as well as AgResearch, who established WormFEC in 1994 and provide science guidance to the WormFEC Gold group.

The WormFEC Gold members are: Gordon Levet, Kikitangeo, Northland; Peter Moore, Moutere Downs, Tasman; Andrew Tripp, Nithdale, Southland; Robert Peacock, Orari Gorge, Canterbury; Graeme Maxwell, Longview, Hawkes Bay; Kate Broadbent, Nikau, Waikato; Allan Richardson, Avalon, Otago; Alastair Reeves, Waimai, Waikato; Forbes Cameron, Ngaio Glen, Manawatu; and Ross Alexander, Makino, Waikato. Their farms from Southland to Northland range in size from 600 to 4,000+ hectares and breed the majority of commercial breeds; Romney, Romney/Texel, Perendale, Coopworth, Texel and Composite.

Find out more about the WormFEC Gold group at www.wormfecgold.com

© 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: