Tim Driscoll

Southland Farmer Uses Overseas Genetics to Improve Dairy Herd Tim Driscoll, a dairy farmer in Winton, Southland, NZ, is using overseas genetics to improve the health and production of his herd. Driscoll, who previously worked as a rural banker, converted his family’s sheep farm into a dairy operation in 2012. For the first few years, he used New Zealand genetics, but he wasn’t happy with the results. “I was a little despondent with what we were being offered from the bull selections,” Driscoll said. “The lines of breeding appeared to be getting narrower and narrower and we started looking for more to get that F1 cross, and to strengthen animals.” In 2016, Driscoll began using ABS genetics supplied through Samen NZ. He has since seen significant improvements in his herd’s udder strength and capacity. “What we’ve found with overseas genetics and with the genomic selections is they’re very accurate, we’ve got quite a degree of confidence there,” Driscoll said. In addition to improving the genetics of his herd, Driscoll has also made changes to his breeding program. In previous years, he used sexed semen to generate surplus heifers for the export market. However, changes in the market have led him to switch his focus to the beef sector. “We have used a lot of beef straws, specifically Belgian Blue and a bit of Wagyu,” Driscoll said. “We’re finishing off with a short gestation straw this year.” Driscoll is pleased with the results of his changes to his breeding program. He is confident that his herd is on track to produce more milk solids and beef in the future.

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