The capability of traditional beef breeds to be successfully farmed in challenging environments has favoured the Hereford and Angus as the main choice of suckler farmers in New Zealand, the Teagasc ICBF Suckler Conference at Tullamore was told.
Steve Morris of the Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences, in New Zealand's Massey University, said the country's beef herd was dominated by Hereford and Angus.
He said this was due to their capacity to be farmed in challenging environments where farmers appreciated the importance of cows being able to fluctuate in live weight while maintaining their annual production cycle.
However, there has been an increase in the use of Continental breeds in New Zealand as beef cows, with Simmental, Charolais and Limousin to the fore.
Breeds such as South Devon were also being used as beef cows, and there had also been an increase in the use of Hereford crossed with Friesian dams.
In Australia, where the beef industry requires resilient cows that can efficiently utilise variable feed resources, a Maternal Productivity Project to evaluate traits from conception to weaning of calves is being undertaken.
This involved the use of 6,000 Angus and 2,000 Hereford animals.
- Martin Ryan
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