Thu, 30 Jan 2014
NEW ZEALAND – A funding commitment of NZ $15 million to further beef and sheep genetics was pledged by the government on Wednesday.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce revealed the plans, which will consolidate three genetics programmes as one.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Central Progeny Test, the Sheep Improvement Ltd package and Ovita will be consolidated under annual payments of up to $8.8 million a year.
The funding, in partnership with Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics, is hoped to boost red meat profitability.
B+L NZ chairman Mike Petersen said the investment will support a whole range of research and welcomed the commitment the government was showing in agriculture.
“This investment supports a whole range of research, identifying new breeding traits that will produce more efficient animals and those that meet consumer preferences in our valuable export markets,” said Mr Petersen.
He added that, with land use changing to dairy, much of the sheep and beef farmers are requiring hardier hill traits.
The government has set out to match farmer contributions and other industry companies through B+L NZ Genetics.
“Science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness,” said Minister Steven Joyce. “The Government is committed to ensuring we invest in purpose-driven research that benefits New Zealand.”
According to Minister Joyce, New Zealand is already a leader in pastoral animal and plant genetics and the new partnership would bolster research into animal genetics.
The economic impacts of this could be far reaching.
He added: “Genetic improvement in the sheep industry has contributed greatly to farm profitability, and for every dollar captured on farm, another 50 cents is captured off-farm. In just 10 years Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics expect that farmers will receive $5.90 extra profit per lamb sold at that time.”