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The hunt for the missing billion: NZ's dairy beef opportunity

Cook, Alan
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::140201 Agricultural Economics , ANZSRC::070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
New Zealand has an established and functional Dairy Beef industry. Existing value chains and enterprise options are available to farmers that can meet the needs and demands of different markets within the New Zealand pastoral farming sector. A significant resource of animals is created by the New Zealand Dairy industry annually. Information available indicates 2.3 million calves are not making it beyond 4 days of age. The prospects for the Global Beef industry suggest that there is an opportunity for New Zealand to grow more Beef to meet strongly growing global demand over the next 50 years. New Zealand has an increasing share of it’s food exports being sold to China, and a Meat schedule market in New Zealand that has been stable for a number of years. As the New Zealand Beef cow herd continues to shrink, growth in New Zealand’s total Beef production can realistically only be expected to come from a larger Dairy Beef industry. Significant prejudices and stigmas exist among New Zealand Beef rearers and finishers toward Beef Cattle with Dairy ancestry (especially Jersey) and large value discounts are applied because of this. Information available does not support these beliefs and, in instances, proves them incorrect. The possibility of sexed semen provides opportunity to improve the productivity and rate of genetic progress in the New Zealand Dairy industry and also for the Dairy Beef industry to expand. The prospect of rearing more Calves from the Dairy Industry, sired by Beef Bulls, feeding them for a shorter duration on high performance pastures and forages, provides a pathway to much more efficient and profitable Beef production in New Zealand.