Meat & Livestock News

Beef Progeny Test Programme in New Zealand Receives 52 Bull Nominations for 2023 Season

Gloved hands of scientific researcher in whitecoat taking tiny sample of raw vegetable meat during experiment while sitting by table in laboratory

New Zealand’s Beef Progeny Test (BPT) programme has garnered 52 nominations from Angus, Hereford, and Simmental breeders for its 2023 mating activities. Dr Jason Archer, a genetics specialist at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the INZB science lead, welcomed the positive response from the breeding community.

Programme Aims and Impact

The BPT is designed to bolster productivity and profitability in New Zealand’s beef sector. “This initiative is instrumental in fortifying the national beef industry, benefiting farmers at large,” Dr Archer stated.

The programme provides a standardised platform for evaluating top-quality bulls, thereby elucidating the differences and similarities among breeds and the merits of hybrid vigour.

The initiative is part of a broader strategy to furnish breeders and farmers with the necessary tools to produce beef that is not only palatable but also backed by strong environmental credentials, whilst enhancing production efficiency.

Locations and Data Sharing

The forthcoming mating season will be conducted at Pāmu’s Kepler farm near Te Anau and Lochinver Station near Taupo.

Breeders whose bulls are chosen for the test will gain access to detailed performance data on their offspring, including growth, fertility, and carcass traits.

Kepler farm has been operating with Hereford and Angus cows in parallel, facilitating cross-breeding in both directions. Lochinver Station became a part of the BPT programme last year, thereby allowing the inclusion of Simmental genetics for the first time.

Historical Context and Future Aspirations

The INZB BPT is an extension of data accumulated from earlier Beef Progeny Tests carried out between 2014 and 2019 across various large-scale commercial cattle operations in the country.

The programme is a component of a seven-year Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures partnership, endorsed by the Ministry for Primary Industries, B+LNZ, and the New Zealand Meat Board. The partnership aims to augment the sector’s profits by $460 million over the next quarter-century.

The programme’s objectives encompass the development of a beef genetic evaluation system that integrates traits crucial to New Zealand beef farmers, thereby supporting a sustainable beef farming industry.

Additionally, the initiative aims to develop user-friendly tools for efficient data collection, management, and analysis, which will empower farmers to make profitable decisions. A further goal is to innovate extension design to enhance farmer engagement across the sector.