Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) is a future-focused seven-year programme (2021 – 2027) designed to generate more income for beef producers and the economy while protecting the environment.

Building on skills and knowledge that already exist in New Zealand – courtesy of our world-leading sheep genetic evaluation and previous work such as the B+LNZ Genetics Beef Progeny Test – this is the industry’s response to evolving consumer expectations around food quality and how it is produced.

INZB will focus on breeding objectives, and resulting traits, important to New Zealand farmers. It will also develop a New Zealand-based genetic evaluation for comparing bulls of different breeds, which will ultimately result in more efficient beef animals, that generate less greenhouse gases and are more profitable.

Development of tools will enable commercial farmers to select the right genetics quickly and easily for their farm system and environment. For some, it may be a focus on health traits such as Facial Eczema (a disease unique to New Zealand), while others may prefer to focus on meat quality traits aligned to a customer programme, or environmental efficiency in their animals.

The programme is being funded 60 percent by B+LNZ and 40 percent by the Ministry for Primary Industries through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.

INZB involves five key projects:
 

Project 1: Developing New Zealand-specific indexes.

To get where you want to go, you need to define your goals and work out how to get there. Breeding objectives and selection indexes do just that – a breeding objective defines your goal and where you want to go as an industry and index(es) are the tool(s) you use to get there.
 
Our indexes should be fit for our New Zealand industry. That is, there are some traits that are more relevant to the NZ environment and should therefore be included in NZ-specific genetic evaluations and indexes to ensure we’re making genetic progress on them – while also continuing to progress on current productivity traits.
 
In project 1, we are going to build these NZ-specific indexes and decide on what traits to develop EBVs for, using input from advisory groups, international experts and most importantly – NZ farmers.

 

Project 2: Data measurements and new trait development.

Traits that are selected for further development within the INZB programme will be developed in this project if standardised trait measurement solutions are not currently available for genetic evaluations.

Where possible, we will look to include data from other organisations for the purpose of R&D and genetic evaluations. To this end, a broad data sharing industry agreement (breeders, commercial farms, and breed societies) will be developed and will include data management, ownership and its use.


Project 3: Beef Progeny Test and commercial herds.

The purpose of this project is to generate enough data to enable accurate across breed genetic evaluations and drive uptake amongst commercial farmers.

There are two main aspects to this project:

  1.  establishment and running of Beef Progeny Tests (BPT), and
  2.  involving commercial farmers in the programme.

The BPT sites will support the genetic evaluation and key activities include:

The inclusion of commercial farmers is to increase the accuracy of the genetic evaluations and to drive uptake in commercial farmers. Key activities associated with participating commercial farms are:

Educational support will be provided to commercial farmers for training purposes.


Project 4: Data management and genetic evaluation

The focus of this project is on providing intuitive easy to use genetic tools to breeders and commercial farmers.

The tools that will be developed as part of this project are the nProve database, nProve reports and a genetic engine. In short, this involves building the tools to store the data, crunch the numbers and turn this into something useful for farmers for to use to make breeding decisions.


Project 5: Industry uptake and programme management

To ensure the industry realises the gains of the INZB programme, it is important that a quality extension project is put in place to help drive uptake of the genetic tools produced as part of the programme.

This project aims to define, develop and deliver an extension model as a suite of products and services specifically targeting industry uptake of genetic and genomic tools. This aim of this extension programme is to drive increased use of high Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) bulls, increased use of AI in commercial herds and the use of genomic tools across the industry.  The project also encompasses the programme management of INZB.