Strong Aussie Demand for NZ Sheep Genetics
May 21 2013 Media Release
One of New Zealand’s larger air shipments of sheep has dotted down in Australia to meet its growing demand for Kiwi sheep genetics. The world’s largest red meats genetics company, Focus Genetics sent 100 Primera and Highlander rams across the Tasman, on board a plane.
Animal breeding specialist, Daniel Absolom says Focus Genetics has flown over three shipments of rams into Australia in the last 12 months and the latest shipment is to supply the growing demand.
“The demand for our rams in Australia exceeded all initial expectations. The programme is part of a long term plan to establish New Zealand sheep genetics in the Australian market.
“We have had a lot of inquiry from Australia over the last 15 years but we wanted to find the right partners before we sent any rams. The Primera and Highlander breeds are now well established both here and in the UK and the time is right for Australia.”
Focus Genetics has partnered Paringa Livestock in Australia, providing them with Primera and Highlander sheep breeds. Paringa Livestock Director, Tom Lawson says there is a growing demand in Australia for New Zealand sheep genetics because the lamb survival rates are better in extreme drought conditions.
“In the last two years the results from the Primera and Highlanders have been phenomenal. Although we are still in the early stages we are seeing proven results, so there has been a big rush from farmers to buy more.”
“This year we have seen one of the worst droughts on record in Australia. During tough times farmers want top genetics. They don’t want to take any risks.”
The move into Australia has also attracted huge interest from Australian meat companies which are interested in higher yielding New Zealand lamb that has also been taste tested. “New Zealand is fifteen years ahead of Australia in research and development. Focus Genetics went through the trial and error process years ago. Now its sheep breeds are tried and true and producing top results.” To further keep up with demand, Focus Genetics has recently exported 1300 embryos to Australia.
“This is a more cost effective way to build a domestic supply. We have partnered a local producer in Murnong Farming to do a 2 year embryo programme which will see over 2000 embryo’s implanted for the supply of rams born and raised in Australia,” Daniel says.