Tue, 23 Apr 2019


The Objective of Discovery Project is to support the opportunity for breeders, through advanced breeding technologies, to develop top cow families and breed bulls for the AI industry.

Discovery Project is now entering its seventh season and has just seen its first graduate from the first crop of heifers that entered the new look programme in 2013. Meander SB Wingman-ET S3F has graduated into the 2018 Premier Sires Forward Pack Team. If you get the opportunity to purchase semen from this bull, remember that you are supporting the Association, as HFNZ now recieves royalties from Wingman.
In total, since 2013, LIC have purchased 40 bulls from heifers that have participated in the programme.
Do you have a high BW heifer calf(ves) with the potential to provide Holstein Friesian bulls for the industry? If so, nominate her for the 2019 Discovery Project!

What is Discovery Project?

  • Sponsored by LIC
  • Genomic screening of up to 300 registered rising one-year-old heifers – with 50 ultimately selected to participate (of potential bull dam standard)
  • Dependent on the service provider and option chosen, heifers will either travel to ABS in early July 2019 or remain on the owner's farm.
  • Matings mutually agreed to by both Breeder and LIC
  • Options for the embryos to be implanted into the owner’s or the service provider's recipients. ABS recipients can be purchased pregnant or you can use a live calf option whereby weaned calves are sent home. 
The objective of Discovery Project is to support the opportunity for breeders, through advanced breeding technologies, to develop top cow families and breed bulls for the AI industry. To achieve this, Holstein Friesian NZ and LIC are this year offering breeders the opportunity to choose the service provider and how they participate in the programme to maximise the potential of their genetically elite yearling heifers:
  • Option 1: TVR based at ABS with six sessions taking place at 10 to 14-day intervals.
  • Option 2: A TVR programme with ABS, based at the breeder's home farm.
  • Option 3: A MOET programme supported by a TVR programme with Ova-Achievers, based at the breeder's home farm. 
Once a heifer is selected to join the Discovery Project programme, the owner will be provided with a contract/pricing structure. On this contract the owner will be required to indicate the service provider of their choice. If you have any questions regarding TVR vs MOET, owners should contact the service providers for further information prior to signing the contract.
All of the above options will be carried out before a heifer is mated for her two-year-old lactation, giving the breeder choice, and with LIC a head start on developing the heifer and her family.
Benefits are numerous 
  • Free genomic evaluation of heifers (and uploading to LIC database)
  • Absolutely no breeding restrictions on heifers screened or resulting female progeny 
  • Free parentage / defect testing 
  • Negotiated pricing for TVR and MOET services with ABS and Ova-Achievers
  • Discount on Classification on all two-year-olds classified in the year the Discovery Project heifer(s) is inspected as a two-year-old. Discounts: 10% for one Discovery heifer and a further 5% for any subsequent Discovery heifers classified at the same time (up to a maximum 30% discount). 
  • Free semen for TVR/MOET (and AI mating if agreed to by breeder)
  • Preferential access to elite young sires (if of interest to the breeder)
  • All resulting bull progeny genomically screened through LIC: 
– Bull progeny may be purchased by LIC 
– Bulls purchased are eligible for an additional ET payment 
– Royalty payable to Holstein Friesian New Zealand for any resulting bulls ultimately marketed. 
  • Any bulls not subsequently purchased by LIC are eligible for LIC’s rearing fee 
  • Free grazing while undergoing TVR or MOET work at ABS 
  • AI option at ABS centre
  • Guaranteed 50% hold rate for fresh embryo transfers with both ABS and Ova-Achievers
  • Free Customate Plus from LIC for the entire home herd (retails at $2.60 per cow).


2018 Discovery Project Team

The Discovery Project from the Past

From 2004 to 2013 Discovery Project was run with two-year-old heifers brought together to be tested in a single nucleus herd situation. A selection of elite pedigree Holstein Friesian in-calf heifers were brought together to complete their first lactation on a commercial dairy farm, where they were genetically evaluated over the season. The heifers were herd tested, weighed, condition scored on a monthly basis, and health records were kept. Each was inspected for Traits Other than Production (TOP) and given an official classification. A summary of heifer performances was published several times through the season.

At the end of each season, heifers meeting the necessary criteria (within top 10% of all two-year-olds, classified GP83 or better and in-calf) were presented with the Discovery Project Elite Heifer Award. The extreme production heifers (LW of 400 or more and in-calf) were recognised with Merit Production. Click here for an overview of all the heifers tested from 2004/05 to 2012/13.

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