B+LNZ Genetics was established in 2014 to consolidate New Zealand’s sheep and beef genetics research and innovation into a single entity. As a division of the farmer-owned industry organisation, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and are funded by sheep and beef levy payers and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. We are supported by additional investment from third parties, including meat processors, breed societies and commercial entities interested in sheep and beef genetics and genomics.
B+LNZ Genetics is building on already significant genetic gains in New Zealand farming.
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Dan Brier was appointed B+LNZ Genetics new General Manager in October 2019. Dan grew up on sheep and beef properties in Coromandel and the Northern King Country before training as a veterinarian. He started his working career as a large animal vet in Te Awamutu, followed by a role in Gisborne as a sheep and beef veterinarian. After 6 years as a vet, Dan and his family began sheep and beef farming near Te Awamutu. In 2013, he started a role at Landcorp/Pamu overseeing the organisation’s northern and eastern North Island sheep and beef properties. Dan is also the B+LNZ Farming Excellence team leader – a role which encompasses research, sector capability, the Future Farm programme, product development and extension design.
As a farmer and vet, I see genetics and farm systems as key to our farming success and, in the complex world ahead, they will only become more important. I’m looking forward to working with the B+LNZ Genetics team and breeders to ensure commercial farmers have the tools they need to make good decisions for their farming operations.
Genetics Specialist – Livestock
Dr Jason Archer joined the B+LNZ Genetics team in June 2021 as the Genetics Specialist – Livestock. Prior to joining B+LNZ Genetics, Jason, who has an Agricultural Science degree and a PhD in animal breeding and genetics, worked as a consultant with AbacusBio. He had previously worked with AgResearch for 12 years. His role will involve providing direction to both sheep and beef programmes, delivering a key link between the science, data strategy and practical application of genetics across the industry.
Genetics Operations Specialist - Beef
Anna holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and previously worked for the Animal Genomics team at AgResearch, leading research programmes such as the Maternal Longevity Beef Cattle project. In 2018, she joined Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) as the Northern South Island Extension Manager. Anna is passionate about beef cattle and genetics. She was born and raised on Haldon Station, in the Mackenzie Basin – a 22,000-hectare property running Merino and halfbreds, Hereford and Angus cattle, and red deer – during which time she became increasingly involved with the running and recording of the Genepool Hereford stud. Anna's role is based in the field, managing progeny tests, research programmes and working with our breeder community
Genetics Operations Specialist - Sheep
Sarah originates from a sheep and beef farm near Wairoa in Northern Hawke’s Bay. As a Massey University graduate with a BSc in Agricultural Science, Sarah has worked with sheep and beef breeders in New Zealand on numerous breeding programmes, predominantly involving composite sheep breeds. She has spent time overseas, working for Innovis - Breeding Sheep, the leading supplier of performance recorded forage-reared rams to the UK livestock industry and more recently in Australia working with composites and Merino. Sarah's role is based in the field, managing sheep progeny tests, research programmes and working with our breeder community.
Sector Science Strategy Manager
Suzi Keeling is the Sector Science Strategy Manager at B+LNZ and is responsible for overseeing the research portfolio. Following the integration of Beef + Lamb Genetics into B+LNZ, Suzi has the opportunity to enhance the linkages between genetics research and other B+LNZ research projects. In addition to building the profile of research led and funded by B+LNZ it will also increase the potential for wider uptake and awareness of research outputs. Suzi originally trained as a microbiologist who later specialised in molecular diagnostics. Following the completion of her PhD that looked at the microbial safety of reusing wastewater to irrigate dairy farm pastures in Victoria, Australia she has worked in a number of different research areas. This includes research relating to animal, environmental and human health and food authenticity helping to support a number of different sectors including livestock, aquaculture and apiculture.
IT Programme Manager
In his role, David provides project management overview and supports collaboration in our IT projects. He also contributes to B+LNZ Genetics' technology strategy, both within the sector and internally. David has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years, successfully developing software and managing teams across a range of industries. He recently managed the development and maintenance a large global genetic evaluation system - including team management, partner collaboration, requirements gathering, architecture, change control and implementation.
“The rapidly developing genetics landscape presents many opportunities and challenges. Selecting the right technologies and people to work together effectively is critical for B+LNZ Genetics to deliver the right tools and technology to continually advance genetic gain in New Zealand.”
Genetic Evaluation Technical Manager
Sharon works predominantly with SIL, testing new developments, co-ordinating technical developments through to the B+LNZ Genetics’ extension team and problem solving. She has been with the organisation since the outset and was previously an agricultural consultant. Sharon has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Masters in Animal Science (Animal Breeding Management). Alongside her SIL responsibilities, she also manages the New Zealand deer industry’s genetic evaluation
“Sheep farming systems, challenges and climate vary hugely across New Zealand. It’s important that SIL offers breeders the ability to record a range of production, health and welfare traits that address those challenges. Sheep breeding needs to be forward focused, if it’s to successfully provide long-term sustainable improvements that meet the objectives of breeders and their clients.”
As Lead Scientist, Michael has oversight of B+LNZ Genetics’ science projects and he is also involved in developing the genetic evaluation infrastructure for sheep. Michael has a PhD in Genetics and also studied economics. He worked in Sweden earlier in his career – in plant breeding and with a start-up biotech – before moving to the UK and transitioning into health economics. Michael has worked at AgResearch and Pfizer (now Zoetis). Alongside his B+LNZ Genetics role, he is also part-time at University of Otago. Michael’s own particular field of research is in sheep maternal traits and genotype-by-environment.
Genetic Evaluation Specialist
Jie is a quantitative geneticist who works alongside Michael Lee on the New Zealand Genetic Evaluation (NZGE) to maintain, improve and advance genetic evaluations, including work on the new Informing New Zealand Beef programme. Initially, Jie will join B+LNZ Genetics on a part time basis while he completes his PhD, before transitioning to fulltime.
Genetic Systems Analyst
Jacqui hails from South Otago (Tuapeka Mouth) and is no stranger to the genetics industry, as her grandfather ran a sheep and horse stud breeding operation. She joined B+LNZ Genetics in July 2018, having previously worked at Genomnz - the DNA testing laboratory at AgResearch, Invermay. While working full time at Genomnz, Jacqui studied for her Masters in Applied Science, (Science, Innovation and Enterprise), graduating in 2016. She also holds a BSc in Zoology and BA (Hons) in History from the University of Otago.
Genetics Systems Technician
Abigail joins B+LNZ Genetics on a 12-month contract supporting the operations of our genetic evaluation systems. She will be an integral part of the Technical Support Team, working closely with Bureaus, Service Providers and the SIL Technical Team. Her role includes helping with the management of day-to-day SIL operations, genetic databases and providing support to SIL/nProve Bureaus and Service Providers. Prior to joining B+LNZ Genetics, Abigail was at Zoetis Genetics for 14 years and brings a wealth of experience in working with farmers, SIL, analysing data (including genotype), and problem solving.
Office Administrator - Genetics
Michelle provides the full range of office support for B+LNZ Genetics staff, including much of the organisation for events and field days. Her recent roles have been centered around remote working by providing accounting consultancy for a company in the US, office administration support to a local NZ automotive company, and volunteering as secretary for the local A&P society. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Illinois and has excellent organisation and multi-tasking skills.