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Wool News Summer 2020: Genetics breakthrough on measuring methane levels emitted by sheep
19 November 2020

Wool News: Genetics breakthrough on measuring methane levels emitted by sheep

New Zealand farmers are the first in the world able to breed low methane-emitting sheep.

A ten year breeding programme funded by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC) and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre resulted in a breeding value for methane emissions.

AgResearch scientist Dr Suzanne Rowe led the research. She says comparing flocks separated into low and high emitting, on average there was a difference of 11 per cent of methane emitted per unit of feed between high and low methane emitters, with no apparent difference in the health, productivity or profitability of the respective sheep.

“We are seeing more lean growth, carcass yield and wool production in the low methane sheep, without any negative trade-offs.”

This breeding programme, which confirmed methane emissions are heritable, allowed for the establishment of a breeding value for the trait incorporated onto Sheep Improvement Limited database (now nProve) last year.

Stud breeders have embraced the opportunity to measure the methane emissions in their stud animals.

Information from Beef+Lamb New Zealand. More detail:


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Wool News: Company's first 'Woolinar,' in October, well received

19 November 2020

In mid-October PGG Wrightson held the company’s first wool webinar. An online woolshed meeting, nicknamed the ‘Woolinar,’ we welcomed wool growers from around the country, alongside participants from the United Kingdom, India and Australia.

Aiming to provide growers with relevant sector information, the woolinar heard from PGG Wrightson Chair Rodger Finlay, CEO Stephen Guerin, and senior wool management including General Manager Grant Edwards, and Bloch & Behrens GM Palle Petersen.

Stephen noted that the company has been committed to the wool industry throughout its 165 year history, employs some 100 wool business staff and invests significantly in wool procurement.

Guests Lars Pedersen and Ole Winther, from Danspin, Denmark, provided insight from their perspective as a major international manufacturer and one of the world’s largest users of New Zealand wool.

Feedback indicates support for similar events from growers and the wider industry. Sharing knowledge throughout the supply chain will help bring the sector together to focus on effectively marketing our sustainable fibre and its many unique characteristics.

More woolinars are planned next year.


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Wool News: Maintaining Preparation Standards

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