Over the 11-year period 170/81, the number of thoroughbred mares being bred from approximately doubled (4874 to 9894). This dramatic upsurge in the broodmare population cannot be accounted for by increased fertility, which has remained at approximately 72% since the early 1950s. Rather it reflects the apparent lack of culling taking place of genetically (progeny tested) inferior mares. Unlike other agriculture enterprises, where increased production is dependent upon increased numbers, the thoroughbred industry sells on a 'quality' rather than a 'quantity' image and over-production of inferior grade animals can be harmful. The success of the 'quality' image can be gauged by an excess of export earnings over imports in the order of $25m in the year ended 30 June 1982 ($29m exports, $4m imports). The exports were achieved by the sale of nearly 1800 thoroughbred stock to 12 overseas countries. The factors considered important in the production of 'quality' thoroughbred stock are: rigorous culling of non-commercial breeding stock; sound nutrition; yearling preparation techniques; reduction in fertility wastage of genetically superior stock; sound nutrition; yearling preparation techniques; reduction in fertility wastage of genetically superior stock; disease control; overseas promotion. The development of a New Zealand equine industry with a potential annual export earning capacity in excess of $100m will depend on these factors together with Government assistance in the area of export incentives, research in mare fertility, nutritional imbalances in young thoroughbreds and pasture management.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 43, , 135-136, 1983
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