$25m for improving performance and well-being of dairy cows

A new $25 million programme aimed at lifting the performance and well-being of the national dairy herd has been launched.

The seven-year Resilient Dairy Programme is being led by Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), with funding support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and DairyNZ.

The programme was officially launched at the National Fieldays yesterday by the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor.

LIC is investing $11.2m, MPI is investing $10.3m and DairyNZ is investing $4.2m in the initiative.

MPI's head of investment programmes, Steve Penno, said it wanted the programme to deliver long-term economic, environmental and animal health benefits for New Zealand.

"For New Zealand to maintain its reputation as a world-leading producer of premium products, we need to further increase the value of our products in a way that improves sustainability," he said.

LIC's chief scientist, Richard Spelman, says it would be looking to develop innovative breeding tools and tests that support more sustainable milk production.

"We're committed to providing farmers with the tools they need to improve their prosperity and productivity in a sustainable way, with animal health, well-being and the environment at the forefront," Dr Spelman said.

"This programme will strengthen our existing research and development work to keep our farmers and New Zealand leading the global pastoral dairy system."

Investment from industry-group DairyNZ will go into re-building its national evaluation system for dairy cattle to incorporate genomic information to facilitate faster rates of genetic gain.

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