Greg Mirams, the Managing Director of Techion provided us with an insight into how technology can empower the sheep, beef and goat industry in New Zealand and the risks that surround our current farming practices if we fail to modernise our approach around the use of anthelmintic drenches and antibiotics.
Techion has recently collaborated with Sainsbury’s – one of the United Kingdom’s largest and most influential supermarket chains. They have undertaken a large-scale field study of parasite management on farms in the UK and NZ. This has shown that we can significantly reduce drench use and the risks of drench resistance developing by using the technology platforms and diagnostic tools that are currently available.
“The platforms are there; we just need to start using them” – Greg Mirams
Parasite resistance is a highly heritable trait. Studies undertaken by AgResearch show that parasite resistant animals have a better immune response, 50% of parasite egg production is contributed by just 15% of rams. By using technology such as PhenR, Techion’s breeding for parasite resistance service, farmers have the ability to identify and cull these susceptible animals, significantly reducing the number of parasite eggs shed onto pasture. Using genetics to breed animals that are resistant to disease provides another step to a non-chemical approach towards solving parasite and drench resistance challenges currently facing NZ farmers.
By taking an integrated management approach and using complementary technology such as DrenchSmart (faecal egg count reduction testing) and FECPAKG2 (on-farm faecal egg count testing), farmers can lessen their reliance on drenches and move to using an evidence-based approach to making parasite management decisions. The secret is all about farm management, if we shift our focus to the quality of genetics, nutrition and effective disease management – production will increase naturally.
Consumers are taking an ever more proactive stance against purchasing products containing chemicals. This highlights the disconnect between what the current market expects and what the New Zealand meat and milk industry is currently producing.
“There is a global movement for transparency in our supply chains”- Greg Mirams
Despite having some of the worst cases of triple drench resistance seen in sheep, New Zealand is Techion’s slowest market. There is a massive demand for their technology overseas with all the major retailers in Australia getting on board. The NZVA is planning to phase out antibiotic use by 2030 as concerns around antimicrobial resistance and anthelmintic resistance grow.
The future of New Zealand’s dairy industry is dependent on how we adapt to these upcoming changes. By strengthening the supply chain story and using a more sustainable approach to disease management we can increase the value of our exports by improving the clean green image we have created for our consumers.
Greg Mirams has written a fantastic document addressed to the red meat supply chain. This provides great information that is relevant to the dairy goat and sheep industry and the supply chain as a whole.
To access this document visit the resources page on our website
For further information, visit the Techion website
Contact Greg Mirams, Managing Director of Techion