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NZ Study Confirms Benefits of Dairy-Beef Integration

13 October 2016

NEW ZEALAND - The final report of a five year study into the use of quality beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain has been released, confirming the potential for dairy farmers to produce high value calves with minimal calving problems using proven beef genetics.

The aim of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy-Beef Integration Programme was to analyse and demonstrate the benefits and risks involved throughout the supply chain in order to increase the supply of quality calves to the finishing industry.

The AgResearch-led project, led by Dr Vicki Burggraaf, AgResearch Farm Systems Scientist, was funded by Beef + Lamb NZ Mid-Northern Farmer Council with in-kind support from LIC and Ezicalve (proven Hereford sires).

Dr Burggraaf said the beef industry is becoming increasingly reliant on calves sourced from dairy farms, but the sires of these calves have traditionally been of poor or unknown genetic potential for beef production.

“The study demonstrated that using proven sires with high Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for calving ease limited calving problems and those with high EBVs for liveweight produced cattle with higher growth rates.

“The use of proven beef sires with high EBVs for calving ease and liveweight over dairy cows has benefits for dairy and beef farmers,” Dr Burggraaf said.

The Manager of the Dairy Beef Integration Programme, Doug Lineham, said the findings “confirm what we’re seeing in the market where dairy farmers are receiving up to three or four times the value of a bobby calf for a quality dairy/beef animal.

“There is a wide range of quality proven beef genetics on offer to farmers – from AI through to leasing or purchasing proven bulls. Grazing bulls is time consuming and resource hungry so it pays to ensure they are proven and will deliver a good result.”

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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