Episode 27 – Utilising genetic tools on our farms

In PodcastsJune 28, 20242 Minutes

It’s bull and sheep buying season, and advancements in the genetics space are continuing to develop, to provide sheep and beef breeders with better New Zealand specific data. But how do farmers make the most of this information? 

We talk to genetics specialists about projects running at the moment, what data they already have available, and how farmers can start using it in their systems.

Guests include:

  1. Dr Shannon Clarke, AgResearch Principal Scientist & The Ovine Pangenome Project
  2. Gemma Jenkins, Programme Manager, INZB


  1. Rebecca Greaves, Editor, Country-Wide
  2. Sarah Perriam-Lampp, Managing Director, CountryWide Media

AgResearch’s Dr Shannon Clarke says the front of mind for genetics research with AgResearch is making sure overseas data and research is easily applicable for New Zealand farmers. 

One of these developments has been the “snip chips”, a genetic profiling tool, which allows farmers to view the DNA sample of a sheep to select the traits they want to breed using New Zealand data. This includes hard to measure traits such as meat quality and methane emissions, and as well as more accuracy with trait selection. 

Shannon gives us an overview of The Ovine Pangenome Project, an international project New Zealand is involved with.

Gemma Jenkins says the whole focus of the INZB (Informing New Zealand Beef) programme is to set up tools to help select traits that are important to New Zealand farmers. Their first project has been creating three selection indexes for farmers; maternal, terminal, and beef on dairy indexes. 

At the moment they have 37 commercial farmers involved in the project, and they’re hoping to continue adding 10 new farmers each year over the seven-year programme. She explains some ways farmers can make the most of the data collected already by this project. Learn more about the programme here.