Abstract

DEERSelect, the New Zealand deer industry performance recording system, has been operating since 2005 in red deer. Over that period, the role and functionality of DEERSelect has grown, such that it is now central to all genetic information delivery to the industry. Initially velvet and growth trait modules were included, with meat and reproduction trait modules added later. Economic indexes were also developed, but have not been widely utilised. Evaluations were added for wapiti, to provide for all breed types. Current desires are for wapiti and red deer to be combined in a single evaluation. Good genetic gains have been made, primarily in growth traits. Impetus provided by the Deer Progeny Test (DPT), and increased breeder education has improved understanding of best practice recording, leading to better data quality and herd connectedness. While DEERSelect is recognised by industry leaders as being critical for genetic advancement, it still has limited stag-buyer adoption. Improved adoption will require a large extension effort so commercial producers can interpret the impacts of breeding values in terms of changes in farm system performance and profitability. The future is promising, with new traits, improvements on existing ones and breeders now valuing objective measures of genetic merit.

JF Ward, SB McIntyre, S-AN Newman, and GW Asher

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 76, Adelaide, 54-58, 2016
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