International research could improve methane emissions efficiency on NZ Beef farms
Sheep & Beef
Sheep & Beef

International research could improve methane emissions efficiency on NZ Beef farms

The annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Beef Symposium was held in Calgary, Alberta in Canada this year and plays host to farmers, researchers, Universities, Government researchers and more that come together to work on how they can improve the Beef bull breeding industry in the United States and around the world.

New Zealand imports a lot of genetics from the US and the GM of Farming Excellence & Genetics at Beef & Lamb NZ Dan Brier attended the conference to understand more about where they see the industry heading in the near future.

He told REX hosts Hamish McKay and Rebecca Greaves that methane and sustainability were two of the main talking points.

"Lots of people starting to measure methane and measure how they can make a change for that on their farms and in their feed lots," Brier said.

" (There was) heaps of interest in feed conversion efficiency and measuring how much some animals need to eat to grow versus other animals."

Importantly to New Zealand in particular, he mentioned there was a significant focus on fertility.

"The fertility of their herds is not that flash and so there's a real interest in that at the moment how they can make sure that their ranches out on the big Montana hill-country are really successful."

Briers is encouraged by the work investigating methane emissions and how the data gathered can be applied to New Zealand stock when it comes to emissions efficiency, particularly as pressure continues to build around on-farm emissions reduction.

He told McKay and Greaves their research could be specifically important for the adaptation of farming efficiency and sustainability in Aotearoa.

"Our problem in grass rooting systems is that we will carry on growing that grass and eating that grass so our total methane reduction requires us to select for animals that produce less methane for every mouthful of feed that they eat.

"We really need to focus in on that." 

Another thing Brier expressed a particular interest in was how cross-breed analysis is being handled in the US and Canada, something that he said is lacking in the New Zealand Beef industry.

"When I think about our commercial farmers in New Zealand, at the moment you can't do that, you can't compare across the breeds.

"It's an opportunity that I think we might just be missing a bit in our beef herds, so we were really interested in that."

Listen to the full chat between GM of Farming Excellence & Genetics at Beef & Lamb NZ Dan Brier, Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay above.

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