Home' Otago Southland Farmer : December 14th 2012 Contents 4
A Consortium of AgResearch Ltd and Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Ovita research into improving ewe efficiency is looking at how to predict
adult ewe liveweight and ewe longevity.
Ewe liveweight is an important component of feed efficiency, but is usually
predicted from weights taken early in the ewe's life.
AgResearch scientist Grant Shackell is working with several sheep breeders and
weighing sheep in their flocks, to investigate the relationship between mature
liveweight and lamb production at key times of the year. This information can then
be used to improve the accuracy of predicting SIL Breeding Values and production
At the same time, breeders are being encouraged to record why a ewe leaves
their flock on the SIL database -- be it for knowledge reasons such as the SIL
Index, or commercial reasons such as structural faults. This isn't something
many farmers currently do. Eventually, this information will be used to develop
longevity predictors for ewes. Breeders will then be able to assess the genetic
merit of the sires they produce, to improve the longevity of their daughters in
"There are costs associated with replacing ewes in the flock, so obviously the
longer they are breeding, the more value they return to the breeder and farmer,"
This technology is a result of New Zealand farmer investment in Beef + Lamb
New Zealand and Ovita.
Contact Eleanor Linscott 03-477-0697 for more information,
or visit www.ovita.co.nz
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An inspiring start to farming life
quiet time with
his favourite cow
Tangaroa Walker, our newsmaker of the year, is just 22 and he had already landed a lower order sharemilking position.
By DIANE BISHOP
It's been great to take all the
positive things I've learnt and
implement them here.
NEWSMAKER OF THE YEAR: TANGAROA WALKER
The world is Tangaroa Walker's
Since winning the Ahuwhenua
Young Maori Trainee-Cadet of the
Year Award in June, he has taken
up a lower order sharemilking
position on the farm he pre-
viously managed at Rimu, near
''I'm really loving it,'' Tangaroa
With the 550-cow lower order
sharemilking job has come the
challenge of making major farm
decisions -- from animal health to
He employs two staff to assist him
in the day-to-day running of the
''It's been great to take all the
positive things I've learnt and
implement them here.''
Tangaroa, 22, is convinced South-
land is the best place for
progression in the dairy industry,
but admits his life could have
taken a very different path.
Born into a culture of drugs and
alcohol, his early years echoed the
movie Once Were Warriors.
Tangaroa believes he would have
ended up in prison if he had not
been taken under the protective
wing of his aunt and uncle, who
farmed sheep and beef at Whaka-
marama in the Bay of Plenty.
Three years ago he and his
partner Simone Groosman moved
to Southland and he took up a
position as 2IC on a 450-cow farm
That was before taking on a farm
manager's role on Toa Farms at
Rimu, where he is now employed
as lower order sharemilker.
Tangaroa admits he is a
''I hate leaving a job knowing I
could have done it better,'' he
He is completing his stage two in
production management through
training organisation AgITO.
He believes building skills is
He also plans to enter the farm
manager competition in next
year's Southland Dairy Industry
Since winning the competition,
Tangaroa has been a guest
speaker at several events, includ-
ing the Federation of Maori
(FOMAC), which saw him offered
three job opportunities in the
Last week he travelled to Dunedin
to speak to Otago University
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