Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 15 December 2011 Contents LOCAL NEWS
15 December, 2011 | Page 17
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An exciting project in sheep
genetic development is being
researched in Western Southland.
Dubbed the Davisdale 'twinning'
Gene, the project is being tested
at two AgResearch sites within
New Zealand but also at Arnie
and Fiona Gray's Hillgrove farm at
Orawia in Western Southland.
Preliminary findings indicate a
ewe flock carrying the gene will
have a natural twinning ability of
75 percent (25 percent singles
and triplets), compared with
the average of most ewe lines
naturally performing between 55
and 60 percent twins (40 to 45
percent singles and triplets). In
addition to this, the gene is also
promising to offer two other traits
of significant value to commercial
sheep farmers. Firstly, the
research is showing the gene does
not need the careful management
often associated with other fertility
genes and, secondly, it appears
to come with an embryonic
survival trait, which keeps the
fertilised eggs secure and reduces
pregnancy losses or 'reabsorption'
from mating to lambing.
The gene, named after
AgResearch sheep scientist
George Davis, a man synonymous
within the sheep industry for
his invaluable work in gene
technology, has been quietly
undergoing project work for the
past five years.
Mr Gray described the gene find
by George Davis as 'ironic' as
after many years of searching
and researching fertility genes
identified from external farms, it
was from Mr Davis' own father's
sheep stud records that the
Davisdale gene was discovered.
"It was under his feet," Mr Gray
The benefit of a twinning gene
with embryonic survival has the
potential to suit most sheep
farmers but Mr Gray said at the
moment the research has not
distinguished if it is a single gene
carrying both traits or if it is two
genes working in tandem.
The key is in being able to isolate
the actual gene or genes, at which
time breeding for commercial
production can commence.
"I'd like to think (this would be)
within the next two to three years,"
Mr Gray said.
Currently the Davisdale gene work
on the Gray's farm is focused on
130 of their Romney stud flock.
Mr Gray considers the Romney a
good base to work from and this
is being reflected in a change
he is noticing, particularly in the
North Island, where farmers are
changing back from composites
to the Romney or Perendale, in
reaction to a number of faults
starting to show up in line
breeding of composite breeds.
Research into sheep twin gene
Do they or don't they? One of Arnie and Fiona Gray's Hillgrove stud romney
ewes with her twin lambs (born mid-September). Testing is under way to see if
these lambs carry the Davisdale 'twinning' gene.
By Trudi Baird
OTAUTAU: The Otautau Christmas
Street Party takes place
tomorrow (December 16) with
an exciting new twist. As part
of the celebrations, a karaoke
competition is being held with
great prizemoney up for grabs --
$250 in the open section, $100
for high school students and $50
for primary school-aged entrants.
The party kicks off at 5pm.
RIVERTON: All the fun of the fair
will be relived at the Riverton
Community Arts Centre with the
offical opening at 7pm tomorrow
night (December 16) of the new
exhibition "Carnival". The Riverton
Carnival ran for more than four
decades from Boxing Day until the
end of the first week in January
and was a huge holiday drawcard
for Southlanders for many years.
Memorabilia and photographs
as well as recollections from top
performers Suzanne Prentice
and Ray Columbus and beauty
pageant contestants celebrate the
WINTON: The annual Winton
Christmas Shopping Evening is
on tomorrow night (December 16)
with shops staying open until 7pm.
It will be followed by "Christmas on
the Lawn", 7pm at the
Salvation Army Centre
in De Joux Road.
Join the fun...
A winner is drawn every week!
Drop in to Te Anau Subway to
register your birthday and be
entered into the draw when
your birthday arrives.
Don t miss out !
HOW DO I ENTER ??
come and have
lunch on us!!
It s your
6" Sub & Drink
& your choice of either
2 cookies, 1 bag of chips or
1 bag of apples
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