Business Rural Summer 2021

| 31 MEAT & WOOL » Waikaka Genetics Finding fertility gene ‘incredibly exciting’ Photos: Waikaka Genetics is due to offer its genetics to the market in December where around 45 Texels and 80-100 of their Rombreeds will be sold by private treaty. The family business also includes a Hereford stud. Ewes and lambs on the move at the Paterson’s Greenvale property. Karen Phelps W aikaka Genetics has recently unearthed genetic traits in a couple of its Romney rams that Ross Paterson, who runs the stud with wife Steph and parents Laurie and Sha- ron, says are “incredibly exciting”. With the assistance of neXtgen Agri the rams were found to possess the GDF9/LambMAX fertil- ity gene, which has been proven to help ewes to produce twins and triplets. “Rather than tagging lambs at birth they now get treated as a commercial flock then at tailing we DNA test them all to find out who their parents are, looking at both positive and negative genetic traits. Finding the GDF9/LambMAX fertility gene was like panning for gold and coming up with a gold nugget. It’s ready to go in the flock instead of us having to try to get it in there over five to six generations,” he says. While the stud has some Romtex with the trait these are the first pure Romneys to be identified to have it. Waikaka Genetics will use the rams to lift scanning percentages over the farm’s commercial flock as well as breed stud rams by them. “At the end of the day I want to use the genetics to make our farm more profitable. If those ewes are more likely to have twins and triplets then we don’t have to look after them so well so when the ram goes out, if we’re short of feed for example, we now know these ewes don’t necessarily need supple- ment, which saves on feed costs. “Also if we can bring the scanning percentage up we don’t have to feed so many sheep in the winter. It really could make a huge difference to our farm and therefore the farms of our customers. We’re pretty excited about it.” The stud also includes Romex and Romdales and Texels. With regards to the Texels Waikaka Genetics is measuring tail length and is leaving the tails on for the first time on its Texel ewe lambs to target shorter tail length as a trait. “Not having to cut tails off is a huge advantage and saves farmers a lot of time and hassle. Docking also tends to curtail growth by two weeks so if people can get the lambs off the farm two weeks earlier it’s a big deal.” Waikaka Genetics is due to offer its genetics to the market in December where around 45 Texels and 80-100 of their Rombreeds will be sold by pri- vate treaty. There will be an open day in November - the exact date will be announced on waikakage- netics.com and the stud’s social media channels. Ross says that the open day will include speakers such as Mark Ferguson from neXtgen Agri who will talk about the advantages of the GDF9/LambMAX fertility gene and opportunities for people to view rams that will be offered in the sale. It’s also a good opportunity for Waikaka Genetics to touch base with customers. “We are always keen to understand what our clients want from their sheep rather than telling them what they want.” The family’s business also includes a Hereford stud. Ross says the aim is to breed good functional cattle. They breed bulls with good carcass for key programmes they will be sold into so they will grade “Finding the GDF9/LambMAX fertility gene was like panning for gold and coming up with a gold nugget. It’s ready to go in the flock instead of us having to try to get it in there over five to six generations. VETSOUTHARE PROUDTO SUPPORT WAIKAKA GENETICS BALCLUTHA | GORE | WINTON | INVERCARGILL | LUMSDEN | OTAUTAU | CLYDEVALE | TAPANUI 0800 VETSOUTH | vetsouth.co.nz well. He says the push is on polled genetics due to market demand and polled Herefords now make up around 80% of their stud animals. We’ve got the experience& equipment to do the job right. We pride ourselves on top results. Maitland, No 5RD, Gore 0274 318 148 | 027 623 7440 petercorcorancontractingltd@outlook.com www.petercorcorancontracting.co.nz Sales: Hay: Paddock & Shed Stored, Standing Grass, Conventional & 4 x 4a Rounds

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