3 Dec 2009

Research aims to reduce calving problems

1:57 pm on 3 December 2009

Meat and Wool New Zealand says breeding beef calves that lighter at birth could reduce complications for younger heifers.

Calves are at risk of dying during complicated births, while the animal's future growth can be adversely affected by slow and difficult births.

Research has shown that a large calf born to a small mother is the main reason for calving problems.

Meat and Wool New Zealand and Massey University have been been researching the possibility of producing smaller calves.

Meat and Wool's General Manager of Farm Services, Richard Wakelin, says the studies nutrition has been ruled out as ain influence birth weights.

He says farmers need to look at factors such as the genetics of the parents if they want to avoid complicated, or assisted, births.

Over time, selecting for low birth weight will reduce the incidence of complicated births, he says.