After forty years working as an AI technician for Livestock Improvement Co, Alex Macmillan (81) now farms beef cattle at Pipiwai, Northland.
Jersey New Zealand and LIC have formally agreed to 'Jersey Future -- to jointly select and prove the genetic merit of additional top young Jersey bulls.
This will add eight extra bulls to LIC's current Jersey breeding programme, and will statistically lift the rate of genetic and productive gain for the breed.
The agreement is initially for three years but both organisations are looking and planning further ahead.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says LIC is committed to the Jersey breed and looks forward to working with Jersey NZ under the agreement.
"Jersey is a very important breed in NZ. It is important in its own right, it's an important part of KiwiCross, and we need to make sure the breed remains strong.
"We now have momentum: LIC has eight of the top 10 bulls on the Jersey ranking of active sires (RAS) list, including the top six, and all six are new graduates. That's testimony to the quality of the young Jersey bulls coming through now.
"We believe that together with Jersey NZ we can achieve more."
Jersey NZ outgoing president Ross Riddell says there is a generation of farmers in NZ who haven't had the benefit or pleasure of milking Jerseys. "And that's what we would like to see in the future.
"Many stars are aligning for Jerseys at the moment. We hear daily and read in the papers that we should get back to basics, that we need to keep costs down and make the best use of resources to convert pasture to milk.
"With Jersey, we have a breed with efficiency. Add to this the Jersey performance on the RAS list (11 of the top 30 on the All Breeds RAS list are Jersey – the most of any breed), the rising price comparatively of fat which we are pleased to see, protein production efficiency and Jersey's lower environmental footprint. All these things steer to a better and brighter future for Jerseys."
The Jersey Future agreement is effective July 1, 2016. The first eight bulls under the agreement will be selected this coming spring and their semen marketed in 2017 for the first time as part of the sire proving programme to be administered by Jersey NZ.
The bulls will be sourced from Jersey NZ member nominations and from the present LIC breeding scheme. The selection process will be 50/50 between LIC and Jersey NZ.