Home' Otago Southland Farmer : March 8th 2013 Contents 6
A Consortium of AgResearch Ltd and Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Collecting data for Ovita's research projects is an investment in the future.
That's why Richard and Kerry France have chosen to be part of Ovita's 5K chip project, which is a
gene-based test that uses an animal's DNA profile to predict breeding values in rams.
The couple farm 566 hectares at Moa Flat in West Otago. As well as 1130 stud ewes, they run
commercial Perendales, yearly cattle and a deer operation.
They and 64 other sheep breeders throughout New Zealand are DNA-testing their elite ram lambs
- those identified via SIL with enhanced breeding value in specific genetic traits. Progeny born this
spring were genotyped using the SNP chip technology, and ranked to verify each animal's genetic
worth against the existing BV. The result will be much improved accuracy of breeding values, which
will help breeders identify the most superior animals for their breeding programme.
The 5K test is currently being used as a proof of concept, but is likely to be commercially available
to breeders in 2013.
For farmers, this means fast-tracking the use of elite genetics in their own sheep, while decreasing
the risk of making the wrong selection decision.
There's no payback right now in being involved in the project for the Frances; in fact it's extra work
in blood sampling for the DNA testing. But they believe they have to be proactive in leading genetic
change that will eventually produce elite animals for the future. "It's about thinking outside the square
to keep in front."
The Frances also autopsied lambs for several years as part of the lamb survival programme. Although
there weren't any real issues and major lamb losses, there has been fine-tuning of their management
as a result, including weighing at birth, and preferentially feeding triplet-bearing ewes.
This technology is a result of New Zealand farmer investment in Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Ovita.
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
Drought hallmark of first weeks in my post
A medium-scale drought has been declared in Northland.
It's been a very busy first month
for me as Minister for Primary
Industries with some big issues to
deal with, in particular water -- or
lack of it.
This summer has been extremely
dry for most of New Zealand and
especially the North Island.
It's a tough time for many
farmers, which is why I've
declared a medium-scale drought
By the time this article goes to
print it is likely to have been
extended to other areas.
What this means is that extra
Government funding is now
available to co-ordinate support
through local organisations such
as the Rural Support Trusts.
They are able to sit down at the
kitchen table with farmers and
give practical guidance and
In extreme cases there will also be
Rural Assistance Payments
(RAPs) available to farmers in
Beef + Lamb New Zealand,
Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and
the Ministry for Primary Indus-
tries are all providing good
support to farmers with things
such as feed co-ordination
It's important to note that support
is available from Government
agencies in all regions, even
without a drought declaration.
Farmers should contact IRD if
they need help or flexibility with
making tax payments, and stan-
dard assistance is available from
the Ministry of Social Develop-
Farmers have been taking practi-
cal steps to deal with the dry, such
as destocking and switching to
once a day milking. Most farmers
are resilient and are prepared for
dry spells, but it's important to
ask for help when needed.
Personally I've visited several
farms around the North Island
recently to see the dry conditions.
I've also visited the sites of
potential irrigation projects in
Central Hawke's Bay and in
Canterbury, which could help in
future dry spells.
As a country New Zealand doesn't
have a shortage of water, it's just
that it often falls in the wrong
places at the wrong times. This is
why the Government has sig-
nalled about $400 million towards
regional-scale schemes to encour-
age third-party capital invest-
A few weeks ago I announced that
experienced director Alison Pat-
erson will oversee the establish-
ment of a new Crown company to
invest in these projects.
The new company will be
established on July 1 and will act
as a bridging investor for regional
projects, with $80 million to be set
aside in Budget 2013.
Done properly, this has the
potential to deliver a major boost
to our primary industries and
support many new jobs. If current
proposals are advanced there
could be another 420,000 hectares
of irrigated land available over
I'm also working closely with
Environment Minister Amy
Adams on water reform, which
you can expect to hear more about
Nathan Guy is the Minister for
Tales of hunting and fishing
from Swazi Man Davey
Swazi Man Davey Hughes.
Swazi Man Davey Hughes will visit the
backblocks of Western Southland later this
He will tell kids of his hunting exploits at
Takatimu Primary School at Nightcaps before
speaking to their parents at the Mount Linton
Station woolshed for the Takatimu Primary
School PTA fundraiser, followed by an auction, on
Tuesday, March 19.
Davey is well known for hunting caribou in the
Arctic Circle, grizzlies in Alaska and buffalo in
He is the bane of customs officials' lives, has run
the gruelling Coast to Coast, and is the man
behind the highly successful Swazi outdoor
Tickets are on sale now for $30 per person and
includes a Big Ben supper.
PTA chairwoman Katrina Thomas said everyone
was excited about Davey coming to Western
''Local businesses have been very supportive in
providing products and services for the auction,''
The money raised on the night will go towards
buying more classroom interactive whiteboards
and assist with the funding of outdoor education.
Tickets are being sold at Takatimu Primary
School, Nightcaps Four Square, RD1 Winton and
the Otautau Hotel.
The event starts at 7.30pm with an auction
following Davey's stories on hunting, fishing and
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