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Latest updates from The New Zealand Merino Company's production science team


Pain relief now registered for use in sheep

Metacam (Meloxicam) has recently been registered for use in sheep in New Zealand. Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic drug, which can be administered by injection to sheep and lambs 14 days of age or older to alleviate pain and inflammation. Click here for the Metacam fact sheet.

NZM is using Metacam at the central progeny test site. 

Showcasing NZSTX and W3 – Wool Unleashed

NZM was proud to join other Primary Growth Partnership programmes at the annual PGP Expo in Wellington on 1 November 2016 to celebrate our joint efforts in market-driven innovation to boost productivity and value across the primary industry value chain.  More information about NZSTX and Wcan be found here

Humane Slaughter Guidelines

NZM and Beef + Lamb New Zealand have developed good practice guidelines for the on-farm slaughter of sheep, with input from the Ministry for Primary Industries, Massey University and Young Farmers.

You can request a copy of the guidelines here.

NZM Open Day and AGM

Close to 100 people from the NZM grower community joined us in Omarama on 25 October 2016 for our NZM Open Day & AGM.

The Open Day included updates on:

  • NZM's future focus and strategy
  • NZSTX outputs across fibre, meat and production science
  • Brand partner perspectives: Francesco Botto Poala (Reda) & Nicola Simpson (Icebreaker)
  • SILERE and the new partnership with Alliance
  • NZM's Board of Directors
  • The Merino central progeny test 

Click here for the handout from the central progeny test site visit.

Investigation into the effectiveness of the Lincoln footrot gene marker test

As part of the FeetFirst project (which is co-funded by NZM, Merino Inc and the Ministry for Primary Industries through NZSTX) we have undertaken an evaluation of the Lincoln footrot gene marker test (LFGMT) in collaboration with AGBU and AgResearch.  

A summary of the results can be found here. In this document, the relationship between the LFGMT and the incidence and severity of footrot in rams and their progeny is explored. 

The positive news for the industry is that the wider FeetFirst project is showing that there is exploitable genetic variation in the resistance of fine-wool sheep to footrot in the New Zealand sheep population. By shifting the focus from a gene marker test to a breeding value, the New Zealand fine-wool industry will soon have a more accurate tool to successfully breed for increasing tolerance to footrot. For more information, contact Dr Mark Ferguson.

Using smart-sensor technology to monitor sheep behaviour, health and wellbeing

NZM's three-year collaborative Sensing Wellbeing project aims to utilise smart-sensor technology to remotely monitor sheep behaviour, health and wellbeing. While the trials are only in the early stages at the moment, the longer-term aim is to monitor animal welfare in real-time across an extensive farming situation.

If successful, Sensing Wellbeing will deliver a whole new level of understanding about sheep behaviour, and will make it possible to detect animal welfare issues (such as misadventure, injury or illness) earlier than is usually possible in extensive production systems.

Emerging talent award

Will Gibson, NZM's Area Manager for Canterbury and manager of the fine-wool central progeny test (CPT), won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Sheep Industry Emerging Talent Award at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Masterton on 6 July.  Congratulations from all the NZM team Will!

Diagnosing and managing Johne's disease

Professor Richard Whittington (University of Sydney) recently visited New Zealand and joined a Red Meat Profit Partnership conference call to discuss the diagnosis, control and management of Johne's disease.  Visit the Johne's Disease page for a link to the podcast. 

New Zealand Grassland Association: Hill Country Symposium 

The New Zealand Grassland Association's Hill Country Symposium held in Rotorua showcased research from across the industry, generating wide-ranging discussions about the future of hill country systems in New Zealand. Click here for the papers from the symposium. 

Lincoln University Foundation Farmer of the Year field day at Omarama Station

NZM's Production Science Manager Dr. Mark Ferguson recently spoke at the Lincoln University Foundation's South Island Farmer of the Year field day held at Omarama Station. Click here for an article from stuff.co.nz.

Livestock nutrition 

San Jolly from Productive Nutrition in South Australia spoke with the Red Meat Profit Partnership in February to share her insights into how better livestock nutrition drives profitability. Click on the Nutrition page for a link to the talk.

Breed change success at Charles Hope

Mark and Liz Hutton are really enjoying the transition to fine wool sheep at Charles Hope. Check out the video below to find out more. For more information about the transformation underway at Charles Hope, including a case study, go to the Our Growers page.


Let's unlock the potential of the ‘perfect sheep’ for your production system

At The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM), we understand that every property is unique and that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. We want to help you find the 'perfect sheep' for your production system.

NZM's production science initiatives focus on four key principles:

  • Market-led production: Focus on what your production system can produce best, and produce it to your target market's specifications.
  • Breed well: Choose genetics that meet your breeding objective.
  • Feed well: Develop year-round forage systems to unlock the true potential of your sheep.
  • Keep them well: Optimise animal health and welfare through best-practice management.

On this website you will find the tools, along with exciting new developments, to help you get the most out of your sheep production system:

Click here to contact an NZM specialist today - we look forward to working with you.



  Page last updated 1 December 2016.