President's Report 2012
The last 12 months has seen a number of new members joining the Society. I would like to welcome them on behalf of the council and the Society.
The introduction of a Dairy Index for Murray Greys on the New Zealand MG website helps with the evaluation of bulls suitable for use in the Dairy industry. As the dairy industry is a major market for our bulls this is an important step in supporting our customers with relevant information to suit their needs. It’s important to recognise that the index should not be used for breeding your replacements as it takes no account of reproductive performance.
The recent discovery of genetic defects being present in Murray Greys has resulted in the Council moving to require the importation testing to include freedom from these defects. Breeders are encouraged to do their own testing to eliminate possible carriers. The Australian website now details the likelihood of animals being carriers. Contractual Arachnodactyly (CA) or Fawn Calf is considered the most important of the defects. The Council may decide to take additional steps to deal with this threat. Refer to page 12 of 2011 Progress magazine for details.
Financially the Society has coped reasonably well with the downturn in the economic situation. The costs however continue to rise and an adjustment to the fees will need to be made be made this year.
Ken Sinclair has retired this year from the Murray Grey Council. I would like to thank Ken for his significant contribution to the Council and Society over the years.
Dr. Bill Utley, one of the early followers of the breed in New Zealand, past President and a strong advocate of the breed in the Canterbury region, passed away recently. Councillor George Climo attended the funeral representing the Society.
Thanks to all those members who have helped with the promotion of the breed over the year at shows, Field days and other similar functions.
President's Report 2011
At the beginning of the last financial year a major concern for the Society was the general financial position internationally and nationally. With interest rates low this was going to negatively impact the Society along with the cost of the move to the Windows based (ILR2) recording system for Breedplan. P.B.B applied to Beef and Lamb NZ for funding for the ILR2 change for all Societies. This was successful and is much appreciated by the Society.
This move will enable members to input their own weighing and production data directly into the recording system without having to send data to the PBB office. Members will still have the choice of either mailing the data to the Administrator or input via their own computer. The changeover will take place in June this year.
Two areas of concern have been attended too by the Council over recent months.
Firstly the council was concerned at the emergence of heritable birth defects in Angus cattle. The Societies bylaws have been changed to prevent the transfer of these problems into Murray Grey cattle in NZ.
There has also been concern at the difference in definition between NZ and Australia as to when cattle are defined as 100% Murray Grey. The NZ recording system has now been changed so NZ Murray Greys at the same status, eg A grade or Pure bred.(PB) are reported as 100% Murray Grey.
Election of the Council is to take place at the beginning of 2012. Members should give serious thought to this as we need dedicated people on the council to move the organisation forward.
This year has seen a strong recovery in prices received for all grades of beef, which is pleasing, let’s hope the trend continues into the future.
I would like to thank all those who contributed to and supported promotional efforts at shows, Field days and hosting visitors. I would also like to thank the Council for their contribution and support.
President's Annual Report 2010
The last 12 months have seen an increase in demand for Murray Grey bulls particularly from the dairy sector. This demand does however vary depending on the dairy market and the payout to farmers. Reports also indicate stronger demand for Murray Grey sired calves at sales.
The dairy bull market is very significant for our breed and feedback from this sector is important for breeders in influencing selection decisions.
A recent inquiry for bulls for the dairy beef AI sector had the following specifications;
Bulls to be Silver
Birthweight EBV to be below the breed average
200 and 400 day Growth EBV’s to be at or above the breed average.
The above illustrates what is important to the dairy sector;
- Live calves
- Colour marking
- Good early growth rates.
The Society went into the last financial year knowing that money would be tight given that income from investments would approximately halve. It is pleasing to see that we have survived the downturn so far, according to the financial report.
A change to a Windows based system for Breedplan is looking to cost the Society $8,000 at present. This matter is still under discussion with PBB (representing the breed Societies) and ABRI.
Earlier this year, members of the Society hosted two young people from Australia, the Murray Grey Youth Ambassadors, Kurt Wise from Western Australia and Courtney Smith from Victoria. They had won the study tour of NZ as an annual award made at their National Show and Sale in 2008 and 2009. Thankyou to all those who were able to host them during their visits, I’m sure both our visitors and the hosts gained from the experience.
Thankyou to all those members who have promoted the breed in various ways throughout the country, promotion of the breed at Field days and Shows allows contact with the beef industry, potential customers and the general public. This provides valuable feedback on how Murray Grey’s are comparing in the market place against the other breeds.
President's Annual Report 2009
The emergence of the international financial crisis has impacted or will impact on everyone. The Society will be affected by the reduction in interest income from investments over the next 12 months and possibly longer.
The Council has considered the introduction of a Dairy Index over the past 12 months. Such indexes weight EBV’s for a particular market. The council has decided in the interim to not introduce a Dairy Index due to the concern that any gain will be long term and the impact of an additional cost at this time with income reducing is not prudent.
ABRI are in the process of changing the operating system for Breedplan. This will introduce greater flexibility with the system being accessed through Windows. The downside is that this comes at a cost. This will be part of the negotiation with ABRI for the new service contract.
The introduction of Steer classes at shows and Fieldays has introduced an additional avenue to promote Murray Greys. The recent Show at Feilding had Murray Grey’s prominent in all Steer classes.
My thanks goes to all those who have helped promotion through the Mystery Creek Fieldays, Feilding Best of Beef and Shows throughout the country.
The Council is responsible for making the ongoing decisions for members. Currently we only have 3 councillors of a possible six. Councillors are there to represent you, the individual members. Currently we do not have anyone representing the top half of the North Island. If you have someone that you consider would be suitable as a councillor for the northern half of the North Island please let a councillor know so we can consider them as a co-opted member to council. Ideally we would have a councillor for each region of the country.
As individuals we need to give consideration as to where the Society is going.
Other Breed Societies are feeling the same decline in members and registered cattle. There comes a point where a few members cannot support the structure of an individual Society.
Should we consider interested members just joining the Australian Society?
We are struggling to maintain a Council and as noted in a previous newsletter we have struggled to reach a quorum for the AGM in the recent years. Should we consider further reducing the quorum?
We need more input for the Society to move forward successfully. Please consider your future, email, write or phone a Councillor, lets think about the options and more importantly, please attend the Annual Meeting and discuss some ideas on where to from here.
President's Report 2008
Over the last 3 years the Council has concentrated on improving the availability and access to new and improved methods of evaluating pedigree cattle. This is continuing with the consideration of Index’s which are based on EBV’s to identify bulls that are suitable for the Dairy industry and a replacement index for the Beef industry.
DNA testing is now available for 8 tenderness genes, 8 marbling genes and 8 feed efficiency genes. Our breed is presently a leader in terms of numbers of cattle with the highest numbers of tenderness genes. Such testing is very well advanced in other species and we can expect continuing advances in this technology.
Another consistent thread the Council has maintained is to continue generic advertising of Murray Greys to a level the Society can afford.
The marketing of Murray Grey beef has long been discussed and considered by many within the Society in the past. The council wants to establish a quality standard and brand name that can be used by individuals, clubs or other approved organisations in the marketing and selling of Murray Grey beef in the future.
I would like to thank all those who have contributed in various ways to the smooth running of the Society and the promotion of our breed by putting cattle on display at Shows, manning stands and displays at Field days, organising and participating in the Southland herd tour and the contributions and production of Progress magazine.
My thanks to my fellow councillors for their contributions and commitment to moving the breed forward.
President's Report 2007
National Bull Sale /Beef Expo
2007 represents the re introduction of a National Sale for Murray Grey’s in New Zealand.
2 Bulls have passed inspection and will be at the sale. This represents an opportunity to purchase bulls which are performance recorded and considered superior animals from their herds. For the sale to be a success it needs the support of members for it to be an ongoing activity.
PBB plan to relocate to a site within the Agricultural Business area of Manfeild Park in a purpose built facility later in the year / early next year.
Five workshops are to be run by ABRI around the country late June/early July this year.
Monday 25th June Workshop, Cromwell
Wednesday 27th June Workshop, Lincoln
Friday 29th June Workshop, Te Awamutu
Monday 2nd July Workshop, Napier
Tuesday 3rd July Workshop, Feilding
We are awaiting an update from ABRI including costs.
Recording of Gene Marker results in Breedplan
This requires a change to the software to enable an additional line of information to be included. The other breeds are to be approached as the cost will be much lower if shared with the other breeds.
Approved AI Sires
Council approved the listing of Approved AI Sires on the Website. The Sire list will be included at the next update.
Transfer forms will be available from the website from the next update. If you do not have access to the website you can obtain transfer forms from the PBB office.
Council has approved a Herd Tour to be hosted by the Southland Club in March 2008.
The AGM will be held at the Steeple Conference Centre, Kingsgate Hotel Palmerston North at 5pm on Tuesday 15th May, to be followed by the Annual dinner. The bull sale will be held the following day. Please make dinner bookings with Lindy Lawrence by Monday 14th May.
President's Report 2006
As the breed enters its second century we can look forward to entering a new period of development. Not many breeds can say with confidence the date the animal that founded their breed was born. The first grey calf that was born in 1905 on the Sutherland property along the Murray river valley near Albany NSW was the starting point of our breed.
Thirty five years ago another milestone, when the first Murray Greys set foot on New Zealand soil. As 2005 moved into 2006 yet another, the NZ Murray Grey Society changed from being an independently administered Society to join the other major beef breeds which come together under the umbrella of Performance Beef Breeders. The move benefits all the participants with the advantages of promotion, technical developments, economies of scale and computer access to the breed data base of all performance recorded Murray Greys internationally. Murray Grey breeders will be able to use this as another tool to aid in their future selection decisions.
To improve anything we must continually try new things and think outside the square. Developing a breed of cattle is no different. As we move into the second century of Murray Grey progress I welcome you to the new era and new opportunities presenting themselves to those of us who breed “the silver cattle with the golden future.”