(Note to media: the transfer was completed on Saturday, 21 January 2017)
This significant milestone marks the conclusion of phase two of the Dairy Industry Good Animal Database (DIGAD) project, a programme to transfer animal performance evaluation and animal data from Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) to DairyNZ’s subsidiary New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL).
The third and final phase of this project will commence in early 2017, enabling all certified herd testing providers to submit data directly to DIGAD. As a part of this final phase, DairyNZ will also work closely with the Breed Societies to develop an on-going information service.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said reaching the conclusion of this phase of the project is a positive step for the industry. DairyNZ has provided funding to support Animal Evaluation operations since the early 2000’s, and the completion of this project creates a solid platform for future research and development in genetic improvement.
“Achieving ongoing genetic gain has been a cornerstone of the New Zealand dairy farmers’ competitiveness. It has been estimated that genetic improvement of dairy cattle contributes $300 million in profit to the economy each year. The DIGAD project is designed to help lift that contribution even further.
“DairyNZ is committed to the continuous improvement of New Zealand’s Animal Evaluation system; work which will ultimately contribute to delivering on the industry target of increased genetic gain in the national herd,” Dr Mackle said.
The transition of the Animal Evaluation system follows the successful transfer of custodianship of the dairy industry’s Core Database two years ago to DairyNZ. This now completes key recommendations from the 2009 Anderson Committee review of the New Zealand dairy herd improvement industry. The report recommended the Core Database and the animal evaluation function be transferred from LIC to industry good organisation, DairyNZ.
Tim Mackle acknowledged LIC’s chief executive Wayne McNee and the LIC team’s efforts to achieve an important milestone for New Zealand’s dairy industry.
“LIC has been responsible for enhancing, maintaining and operating the national animal evaluation system and database since the 1980s. The industry has developed a lot over the years and LIC has played a significant and important role in developing the database we have today,” Dr Mackle said.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee said the time was right for the move to DairyNZ.
“As we reach the final handover, I wish to recognise the hard work, dedication and commitment of everyone involved over the many years that this system has been delivering benefits to the dairy industry,” Mr McNee added.
New Zealand dairy farmers have predominantly funded this project, including through DairyNZ Incorporated. For every dollar that DairyNZ invests, approximately six cents are allocated to building and developing industry information systems. The DIGAD project fits within this category.
This work was also supported through the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership programme, led by DairyNZ and Fonterra, partnering with the Ministry for Primary Industries.