Home' Northern Outlook : February 9th 2013 Contents 7
CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND FARMER
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Sheep gene pool deal made
NZ lamb products receive 'leg-up into international markets'
FINE FARE: Farmer John Heald admires his Primera lambs.
Photo: VIVIENNE HALDANE.
The move will give UK breeders
access to a wider range of
genetic lines, which have been
developed to improve on-farm
productivity and efficiency.
THE COUNTRY'S largest red
meat genetics company, Focus
Genetics, has merged its
resources with the leading
supplier of sheep technologies in
the UK, Innovis, to provide
British farmers with a wider
range of improved sheep genetics.
Innovis chief executive, Dewi
Jones, recently met with New
Zealand farmers and signed a
distribution agreement with
Focus Genetics that will enable
the organisation to market rams
from one of the biggest sheep gene
pools in the world. Focus Genetics
UK general manager, Bayden
Wilson, says the collaboration will
enable the firm to improve its
supply of genetics to UK breeders
and also allow it to increase its
investment in ground-breaking
research and development
technologies for the benefit of the
By working with Innovis, we
can produce better genetic gains
from our UK stock, and create
efficiencies from our ability to
share resources, skills,
technologies and equipment,''
Focus Genetics currently
provides about 300 Primera and
Highlander rams to UK farmers
annually, from South West
England to the Orkney Islands
and Ireland. Innovis has also
already established its own
substantial customer base, with
more than 450 farms using its
Aberdale, Aberfield, Abermax and
Abertex breeds. As a result of the
collaboration, more than 800 rams
will be available through Innovis
this year alone.
Mr Wilson will continue to be
involved with the UK business,
working with breeders over there
and assisting Innovis in servicing
current clients and continuing to
build the business.
We already have a significant
number of farmers using both
Focus and Innovis rams. This
collaboration means they will be
better serviced year round, and
we expect to increase the sale of
both genetic types significantly
over the coming years.''
Mr Jones says he was
impressed with what he saw while
he was down here and believes
that farmers at home will benefit
from the Focus Genetics breeds.
The move will give UK
breeders access to a wider range
of genetic lines, which have been
developed to improve on-farm
productivity and efficiency. We
are excited to be involved with
Focus Genetics and believe its
customers will also see significant
benefits from working with our
He said that the Focus Genetics
breeds complement the Innovis
breedlines, citing the company's
long and successful history in
sheep, cattle and deer breeding
programmes. He also commented
on Focus Genetics' role in the
development of CT scanning,
progeny and parentage testing,
and genomic analysis.
David Turner, of Mendennick
Farm in Torpoint, Cornwall, has
developed a purebred Highlander
flock over the last five years and
has recently been using Abermax
terminal sires over his draft ewes
to produce quality finished lambs.
He has also gradually been
moving operation from an
intensive indoor lambing system
to one that is grass-based and
lambs outdoors in April. He has
welcomed the collaboration.
Innovis has an excellent
reputation in the UK, and a good
presence at the key shows and
sheep events. This link means we
will be able to pick up the phone
and speak to someone in the UK
who really understands our
systems and can help us source
the right genetics to get the most
from our sheep,'' he said. We
have seen a significant
improvement in the quality and
consistency of Highlander rams
over the last few years, and are
now benefiting from the
investments that both Focus
Genetics and Innovis have made
in their breeding programmes.
We're looking forward to working
through Innovis and being able
to source our rams from a single
Shane Tilson runs a Primera
nucleus flock at Awapai Station.
He says the joint venture will also
be good for New Zealand farmers.
Merging skills has got to be
good for us. It gives our products
another leg-up into international
markets. The Focus Genetics
programme is cutting edge.
They're a focused bunch and
they're working hard to help
improve our production and
efficiency on the farm.''
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