A load of bull: an overview of the New Zealand bull beef industry
The New Zealand bull beef industry can trace its beginning back to the early 1970s and the high international beef prices current at that time. Industry pioneers, recognizing the dairy farmers 'bobby' calf as a resource too valuable to ignore, set out to determine how best to optimize this resource. Through research, trial and error and the school of hard knocks the pool of information and experience expanded over those early years. Significant productivity gains were captured and the number of dairy-bred bulls being farmed continued to increase. Acknowledging the high growth potential of bulls, farmers continued to fine tune production systems -and management practices. The fact that no one best production system has evolved is testament to the many and varied factors at play. This report explores these factors and some key principles to be observed in designing an efficient bull farming system. It also investigates changes in how bulls are processed and marketed today compared with those early years. Looking to the future the report seeks to identify issues to be faced and opportunities to be grasped while identifying strengths and any apparent weakness.... [Show full abstract]
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