31 Jan 2014

Funding boost for genetics research

9:02 pm on 31 January 2014

Sheep and beef farmers will be asked to reaffirm their financial support for genetics research following the announcement of government funding for a new research partnership.

It is contributing $15 million dollars over five years to support the partnership called Beef and Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

The partnership brings together existing sheep genetics programmes, such as Sheep Improvement and Ovita, and will also give a lift to genetic research for beef cattle.

The aim is to find new breeding traits which will produce more efficient and, therefore, more profitable animals.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen said sheep and beef farmers who paid levies to the organisation would not be asked to contribute more for genetics research.

"Total funding for the vehicle itself is proposed to be $4.4 million a year from farmers and other commercial companies," Mr Petersen said.

"The Government has come to the party with an additional $3 million a year, so there is still a shortfall that Beef and Lamb Genetics will be looking to fill from other parties, and that's work that will have to get under way once Beef and Lamb Genetics is formed."

Farmers would be asked to ratify the programme ahead of Beef and Lamb's annual meeting in March.