Dr Jeremy Bryant, NZAEL manager, says it is vitally important for farmers to be involved in genetic evaluation development. “The perspective and experience of farmers is invaluable when it comes to enhancing the animal evaluation system,” says Jeremy.
The aim of this panel is to create a forum for two-way discussion between farmers, researchers and the NZAEL team, and to assist NZAEL in identifying practical issues that could be implemented as part of the strategy.
“The six farmers on the panel have farming businesses that are representative of a range of New Zealand farming systems. They are advocates of genetic improvement, and will meet about five times a year to give their practical views on research and development being proposed or undertaken by NZAEL and DairyNZ researchers,” says Jeremy.
There are currently two key areas that the panel is providing feedback on. The first is a project focused on reducing the ‘reproof bias’ in AE enrolled sires (read more at dairynz.co.nz/reproof) and the second is a mid-term review of the economic models that are used to generate breeding worth. The review will commence in spring 2017, and the panel along with other stakeholders will be involved in providing views on the key focus areas.
Bruce Thorrold, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader productivity, says “DairyNZ invests a significant amount of farmers' levy money in NZAEL each year, and it's critical we look to maximise value to farmers - getting more direct farmer input is one important way to do that."
In addition to working closely with the panel, NZAEL values feedback from all New Zealand dairy farmers and will continue to consult the industry on big changes and developments via breeding company meetings, user group meetings, consulting officer networks, social media and email newsletters which are produced three times a year. User group meetings will be held from time to time to communicate major developments.
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