The technology used to detect Covid-19 in wastewater is now being used to help dairy farmers manage Johne’s disease in their herd.
After siring more than 170,000 daughters for New Zealand farms, making him among the country's most prolific fathers, the Holstein Friesian bull, San Ray FM Beamer-ET S2F (or 'Beamer' as he is known to farmers), was inducted during LIC's annual Breeders' Day event earlier this year.
The honour is shared with Beamer's breeders, Ray and Sandra Hocking of Carterton, who supplied the bull to LIC as a calf after he was selected as a contender for the cooperative's elite teams of artificial breeding bulls (based on his high genetic merit).
Ray Hocking said he and Sandra had been proud to follow Beamer's success, seeing him initially selected for the LIC bull team in 2015, and then be so popular with farmers since that time.
Beamer's reputation was based on his high genetic merit, over all conformation traits, and ability to breed capacious daughters with good udders.
“Beamer has a lot of things that just ‘click’ with New Zealand farmers,” Ray said.
“His daughters are not overly tall but they are very wide. Production wise, he’s also got great numbers and a perfect balance of protein to fat.
“As breeders we are very proud of his achievements. We know he has delivered a lot of value to a lot of farmers around New Zealand.”
LIC livestock selection manager, Simon Worth, said Beamer was the 58th bull to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, an honour which is reserved for animals that have delivered a significant contribution to the dairy industry (LIC's Hall of Fame dates back to 1954).
"Beamer well and truly meets the criteria," says Worth.
"Not only has he fathered more than 170,000 daughters for New Zealand's dairy herd, but he's also sired more than 92 sons and 54 grandsons who are now following in his footsteps and achieving tremendous success."
Beamer is also one of only four bulls in New Zealand's 70-year history of AB to surpass more than one million straws of semen for artificial insemination. "Beamer is an outstanding bull and his contribution will have a prolonged effect on New Zealand farms for many year to come. He's always had a great nature too and is a favourite with our farm staff - a quality that would be appreciated in his daughters too I'm sure.
"He enjoys a good scratch behind the ears and is often seen in his paddock sitting like a dog, waiting patiently and keeping an eye on his surroundings."