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Reflections On Science

Dr Anne Galloway on live animal shipments

John Kerr posted in on June 19th, 2015.

The government hasn’t been upfront about the international transport of livestock, according to Dr Anne Galloway, a senior lecturer in design anthropology at Victoria University Wellington. She offers her thoughts on the shipment of live animals in the opinion pages of the Dominion Post. An excerpt (read in full here): Time to come clean on […]

Sheepdogs round up the rules for crowd control

Laura Goodall posted in on August 28th, 2014.

Scientists have found two simple rules behind how sheepdogs manage to round up and move sheep so efficiently, which they hope can be used in designing robots for crowd control or environmental cleanup. The study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface this week, involved strapping backpacks with GPS units to sheepdogs and sheep and […]

New livestock virus in UK and Europe, unlikely to reach NZ

John Kerr posted in on March 2nd, 2012.

A new livestock virus spreading across Europe and panicking farmers in the Norther Hemisphere is unlikely to reach New Zealand shores. The Schmallenberg virus, named after German region where the its was first detected, causes fetal congenital malformations and stillbirths in cattle, sheep, and goats. Spread by the Culicoides midge species, the virus was first identified […]

SMC(UK) Fact Sheet on Schmallenberg virus

John Kerr posted in on March 2nd, 2012.

This fact sheet was produced by the SMC UK to give journalists a background on the Schmallenberg virus currently affecting livestock in the UK and Europe. Background Schmallenberg virus, aka SBV, is an emerging livestock disease that has been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the UK. Outbreaks of disease in […]

SNP chip technology a $52m fillip for farm sector – researcher

Kent posted in on February 10th, 2012.

New Zealand farmers stand to gain $52 million over the next five years from scientific innovation which has given a local company a signficant lead in screening sheep for potentially profitable genetic gains, says a senior researcher, John McEwan, who estimates another $26 million of off-farm benefits will also be earned. Depending on short and […]

ODT/NZPA: New parasitic test to help sheep breeders

Peter Griffin posted in on September 17th, 2010.

AgResearch has developed a new parasite test for sheep which will allow breeders to test their stock faster, more easily and more accurately. The test (which tests saliva) checks the levels of an antibody, CARLATM, which sheep produce to fight parasite infection. An excerpt: (read in full here) “A three-strong sampling team could process more […]

Manawatu Standard: Scientists working on animal genetics

Peter Griffin posted in on May 26th, 2010.

Jill Galloway writes in the Waikato Times about scientists’ efforts to better understand beef and sheep genetics in a bid to improve Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) information. EBVs are widely used, but accurate genetic tests could potentially save farmers years and improve their stock. An excerpt: (read in full here) “Professor Goddard said EBVs work, […]

Dom Post: Wool’s being bred into a thing of the past

Peter Griffin posted in on February 4th, 2010.

Jon Morgan of the Dominion Post reports on Kakatahi farmer David “Tex” Matthews, who is building up a flock of ‘woolless’ sheep. The farmer says he is tired of waiting for wool prices to recover, and has been breading sheep who don’t need to be sheared by crossing two breeds of sheep who shed their […]

Dom Post: Methane research is ballooning

Peter Griffin posted in on January 27th, 2010.

Kiran Chug of The Dominion Post reports on ongoing efforts to measure pastoral greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, AgResearch is using water balloons to measure the burps of sheep, as scientists try to understand why animals produce different amounts of methane. An excerpt: (read in full here) “At the crown research institute AgResearch, scientist Kirsty Hammond […]

NZ Herald: Counting burps – it’s a gas

Peter Griffin posted in on January 21st, 2010.

Kathy Marks of the NZ Herald reports on an Australian project in which sheep are to have their burp outputs measured. The project, which is the first of its kind, aims to identify those animals which burp less, potentiallyallowing the breeding of ‘burpless’ sheep. An excerpt: (read in full here) “The world-first study is being […]

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