Focus Genetics is an important partner for CRV’s dairy beef sire offering. Established in 2012, Focus Genetics is NZ’s largest independent red meat genetics company. It has NZ’s largest DNA recorded gene pool with over 700k DNA-recorded animals including sheep, cattle and deer.
Focus Genetics focusses on breeding sustainable cattle herds by targeting traits that drive farm profitability, while remaining conscious of its environmental footprint. The company’s cattle programme manager Duncan Elliott says gestation length and ability to influence days in milk are priority traits across all its breeds.
“We recognise that lower birth weight is also an important trait from a farm’s operational perspective. But then we need to mitigate the negative impact of low birth weight by creating a calf that grows quickly, finishes early and grows more meat.”
The Angus sire CRV currently offers is Focus Whitlock 75. This young registered Angus sire has the benefits of short gestation length (-8.9 EBV, breed plan April), calving ease and strong growth traits that will appeal to beef finishers.
One issue with a black Angus calf is its similarity in appearance to a dairy cross animal. To enable farmers to benefit from the increased value of using a registered Angus sire, CRV offers farmers using Focus Whitlock 75 the right to use a special AngusX Dairy eartag, which is endorsed by Angus NZ. This means when the animal is on-sold, the purchaser can be confident it is an Angus X, which provides value for future breeding decisions.
Colour marking is also a key consideration for many farmers. The Dairy-Stabilizer cross progeny feature blocks of red or black colouring.
Stabilizer is relatively new in New Zealand, but is actually the result of 30 years R&D by leading North American genetics companies. They have captured the best attributes of four breeds and combined them in a composite breed. Stabilizer is also a Polled breed.
The Stabilizer® Dairy Beef sires that CRV offers have been selected to maximise the value of shorter gestation, calving ease and increased growth and yield in the finished product. Stabilizer® cross calves wean on average 4 days earlier and heavier with 19% more scanned eye muscle (Massey New Generation Beef trial, Stabilizer® cross vs traditional cross breeds at 11 months).
Stabilizer combines the moderate size, ability to maintain body condition and meat marbling of the British breeds, with the muscle, milk production and growth traits of the European breeds.
Duncan Elliott says when choosing a beef breed to use, farmers should consider the risks of each breed carefully, but not afraid to consider new options and make sure your decision is backed up by good science.
“Dairy farmers can create real value from dairy beef cross progeny and in turn pass that value on down the supply chain. Using the right genetics, they can rear animals that will wean quickly, finish sooner, yield more, and maximise dollars paid per kilogram of carcass.”