Farm­ers have say on ideal cow

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Dairy farm­ers get a chance to shape the cow of the fu­ture at a national road show over the next month.

The 20 events from Kaitaia to In­ver­cargill are for farm­ers to give feed­back on the National Breed­ing Ob­jec­tive.

The dairy cow is the en­gine of the New Zealand dairy in­dus­try, with 4.4 mil­lion cows pro­duc­ing more than 1.4 bil­lion kilo­grams of milk­solids ev­ery year. The National Breed­ing Ob­jec­tive is to iden­tify an­i­mals whose prog­eny will be the most ef­fi­cient con­vert­ers of feed into farmer profit, other­wise known as Breed­ing Worth (BW).

NZ An­i­mal Eval­u­a­tion Lim­ited man­ager Dr Ge­orge Cruick­shank said farm­ers had the op­por­tu­nity to say whether the cur­rent BW met their needs and how they would like to see it change in the fu­ture. ‘‘Our aim is to en­sure that New Zealand dairy farm­ers have ac­cess to an­i­mals that will best suit the dairy in­dus­try of the fu­ture,’’ said Dr Cruick­shank.

‘‘One of the things we want to es­tab­lish is if farm­ers think the cur­rent traits have the right eco­nomic weight­ing or if they think oth­ers should be added.

‘‘We will also be dis­cussing the lim­i­ta­tions of the cur­rent cow and the traits of im­por­tance for the fu­ture.’’

Farm­ers will also have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in an online sur­vey. The sur­vey will fo­cus on de­ter­min­ing the traits of im­por­tance for farm­ers across the full spec­trum of farm­ing sys­tems across and within breeds.

‘‘The road show is an im­por­tant step in the de­vel­op­ment of a strat­egy for the National Breed­ing Ob­jec­tive,’’ he said.

‘‘I en­cour­age farm­ers to at­tend and have their say in the fu­ture of the New Zealand dairy cow.’’

For more in­for­ma­tion go to or

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