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WJCB Vice President’s Report for Oceania – 2014

The dairy industry in New Zealand and Australia , has seen the high world prices for dairy commodities improve the financial returns to dairy farmers in these regions.  New Zealand production increased this past year, whilst Australia’s production remained static.  High input costs are holding back the growth of the Australian dairy industry. 

Jersey Australia has had a good year financially.  In 2014 we have seen an increase in memberships turning around the decline that had been happening over the past few years.  In 2013, registrations were down slightly from the record number of the previous year, of which 22.7% of all registrations were done electronically.  Transfers of cattle were up significantly and   classifications were up 26.7% on the previous year.  With the value of the Australian Dollar dropping below the value of the American Dollar we have seen an increase in the export of jersey heifers to China and Pakistan.  On the home front, the demand for jersey cattle is increasing.  The Shirlinn Stud in Tamworth, broke the Australian jersey record for the highest sale average, - 59 jerseys averaged $6027.  Shirlinn Tequila Snowflake sold for $30,000, - 2nd highest priced jersey sold at auction in Australia.

Jersey Australia is a member of the All Breeds Show Ethic Committee & during the past year, udder scanning was undertaken at 4 Royal Shows, International Dairy Week and at selected Feature Breed Shows. 

Jersey Australia has also been involved with the development of the Genomic Reference Set, the Bull Genome Project and the Ginfo  Project. 

The Bull Genome Project has seen bulls from the past and more recent ones, fully sequenced with details gathered being added for a more reliable ABVg (Australian Breed Value genomic).   To this date over 800 straws of semen have been donated for testing.  Jersey Australia is lobbying to get research done using jerseys for feed conversion efficiency trials.  Some research has already been done using Holsteins.

In New Zealand, jersey memberships have been slightly up on the previous year, whilst registrations are static.  The demand on jersey heifers for export, has been up with animals going to China and Mexico.

The Dairy Industry Good Animal Database which will be owned by New Zealand Dairy & managed by LIC, is progressing slowly.

Last year when WJCB delegates visited the Dairy Futures Co-Operative Research Centre, we were told about the 1000 Bull Genome Project which was created to include the largest collection of bovine DNA sequence data.  The project has moved closer to its goal with 20 international research partners now on board.  The data is being used in different ways by the research groups, - Australia is using the data to design improvements with the routine use of DNA, to predict the genetic merits of Australian dairy cows

Jersey enthusiasts in the Oceania region, would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Derrick on being awarded an MBE for his Service to Agriculture.

 Peter Ness

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