Home' Otago Southland Farmer : August 9th 2103 Contents 4
A Consortium of AgResearch Ltd and Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Facial eczema (FE) is a big problem for some
New Zealand farms, so identifying the genes
that make some sheep more tolerant to the
fungal toxin will be very welcome.
FE permanently damages the livers of animals with the disease, and produces
obvious lesions on the face in some badly affected sheep. It occurs in
outbreaks in the North Island, and is more prevalent in warmer humid autumn
Ovita is funding research into a DNA test for resistance to FE, to help farmers
breed out this century-old disease that is costing the country many millions
The problem facing AgResearch researchers though is that inheritance is
complex, and there's clearly more than one gene interacting to influence FE
sensitivity. Many approaches have been taken to identify genes that trigger a
susceptibility or resistance reaction.
Their solution is to find genetic indicators in the regions of causative FE genes.
Genetic scientist Dr Sin Phua is using the latest SNP chip technology to
develop a whole genome selection approach to screen for tolerant animals.
He's calculating the value of each of the 50,000 SNP markers on the chip for
indicating genetic influence on
Ovita will then eventually be able to offer genetic tests that help farmers,
particularly those in problem areas, with ram selection.
The study uses the Ovita SNP trial database, which contains DNA and
performance information from thousands of New Zealand sheep, to produce
the genetic merit for production traits on individual industry animals.
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
WREYS BUSH FARMER BRADLEY STEWART --- AND HIS INTENSIVE LAMBING VIEWS
All care when intensive farming
Is intensive lambing the way to go or is easy-care better? There are merits to both. Diane Bishop reports.
Talking tactics: Nolan Jennings, left, Guy Bellerby and Bradley Stewart discuss lambing tactics at a Beef + Lamb New
Zealand pre-lambing seminar at Wyndham.
CONTINUED Page 5
Wreys Bush farmer Bradley
Stewart looks forward to lambing.
And he won't let previous bad
experiences taint his outlook for
the coming spring where his focus
is on maximising lamb survival
''I don't dwell on the past.
''I take the techniques and lessons
I have learnt from past years and
apply them to my operation,''
Stewart, who farms more than
3300 TEFRom (Texel-East
Friesian-Romney) ewes and 950
replacement ewe hoggets on his
400 hectare property at Wreys
Bush, intensively manages his
ewes at lambing time.
He regularly checks them, marks
twins and triplets and makes good
use of portable lambing sheds
which he strategically places
around his property.
His wife Olivia helps with the
Intensive lambing works for the
Stewarts, who farm in prime
dairy country, but Guy Bellerby,
who farms a 330ha hill country
property near Te Anau, has taken
a different approach.
''We're easy care lambing.
''I feed the ewes to express their
genetic potential and don't over
handle them,'' Bellerby said.
He will cull non-performing ewes,
to terminal sire rams and won't
hesitate to cut the throats of sick
ewes if necessary.
The merits of intensive lambing
versus easy-care were debated at a
Beef + Lamb New Zealand pre-
lambing seminar at Wyndham
Other farmers talked about their
experiences of rearing large
numbers of orphan lambs on
Stewart said he switched to
TEFRom, a Texel-East Friesian-
Romney cross, 12 years ago and
last season achieved 162 per cent
He staggers his lambing with the
old ewes starting August 20,
followed by the terminals on
September 1 and the main ewes on
Stewart doesn't mate his hoggets
because he believes it reduces
their adult size and he wants to
have ''nice big healthy' sheep.
''I tried hogget lambing but I
ended up with average looking
''But I may look at it again.''
Stewart likes to place portable
sheds around his farm for any
ewes he has to lamb while out on
his beat and this avoids taking
''It's a pain having to catch a ewe
twice,'' he said.
He also makes use of other sheds,
hay sheds and stables for
He uses baling twine as ewe
The tools of his trade were his
Rhino motorbike, a large trailer
dubbed the 'lambulance', disinfec-
tant and spray for twins and
A thermos was also a handy
accessory on those chilly morn-
During the winter he keeps an eye
on the light ewes and they are
taken out of the main mob and
Any triplet lambs are taken off if
they are lagging.
Stewart is a strong advocate of
lambing shepherds and believes
they pay for themselves.
He likes to feed his single lambs
well to achieve high growth rates
and an early premium.
Last season he averaged $92 for
his lambs which he takes through
to an average 19.2kg carcass
weight while he averaged $120 the
''We keep the weights up to make
money,'' Stewart said.
His main goal is not to have any
rotten lambs, but keys to his
success include staggering his
lambing, feeding stock well and
dealing with bearings as they
In a good year he will save about
70 to 80 per cent of the ewes
affected by bearings.
Stewart said he would always
recheck a lambing ewe if he
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