Thursday, 06 June 2019 07:55

Farms wanted for progeny testing

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Farmers Chris and Aleisha McCormack with CRV Ambreed’s Janine Broekhuizen. Farmers Chris and Aleisha McCormack with CRV Ambreed’s Janine Broekhuizen.

Dairy farmers are being sought for a progeny testing to develop the next generation of elite dairy sires.

Newly appointed CRV Ambreed progeny test (PT) programme manager Janine Broekhuizen says this is a chance for farmers to develop and enhance their herd by gaining early access to the next generation of top genetics.

The programme has 374 dairy farmers. Each year it has about 200 contracted herds mating progeny test bulls. 

“The elite bulls selected ultimately ensure our industry remains competitive, productive and profitable generation upon generation,” she says.

“It’s important herds participating in our programme are from right across New Zealand.  Right now we need new farms to partner with us, particularly with crossbreed cows, or being in Northland and Canterbury would be a bonus,” says Broekhuizen.

She joined CRV Ambreed following stints at DairyNZ, Tatua and AgResearch.  She has a biochemistry degree and has always been interested in genetics. 

Most of all she enjoys getting out in the field and talking to farmers.

“Especially I enjoy meeting with our existing farmers in the PT programme, hearing what they are enjoying and benefiting from and learning of anything we at can do to make the PT programme even better. 

“My personal goal is to ensure each PT programme farm gains value from their involvement, so much that farmers want to tell their neighbours about it.”

One participating couple, Aleisha and Chris McCormack, began sharemilking in Edgecumbe five years ago with 220 Friesian-crossbreed herd. 

In 2014, they joined the programme and now milk the progeny test daughters. 

Chris describes his breeding preference as not breeding worth driven.  He says he “wants a nice whole cow”.

“I like cows that are lovely to milk with easy temperament and a great udder conformation,” he says.  “Being part of the PT programme has provided this and is giving us good genetic gain.”

McCormacks are visited annually by an inspector as part of the PT programme. “There’s always something new to learn from the day,” says Chris.

A PT programme requires herd testing four times a year, and their cows must score traits such as adaptability to milking and shed temperament. 

Says Broekhuizen, “It’s rewarding for our team to work with farmers like Chris and Aleisha who are passionate about their cows and know exactly the type of animal they want to breed.

“I see my role as leading our team to ensure the PT programme provides value to participating farmers, to help them achieve their herd and business goals and ensure the next generation of dairy bulls are robustly proven and ready for the market.” 

She says she’s looking for farmers who share the same values as CRV Ambreed and are diligent about their herd recording

“Our ultimate goal as a company is to breed healthy and efficient cows that farmers love to milk.  And we do that by focusing on developing genetic solutions, such as LowN and facial eczema tolerance. 

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