Rikus Scheepers

Rikus Scheepers, a man of vast experience dairy farming with both genetic lines ups to find out how the ABS Global pasture-based line-up is performing in New Zealand

Rikus Scheepers

Ashburton , Canterbury, New Zealand

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ABS focus on what matters most to dairy farmers. Priding themselves on breeding commercial cattle that work alongside dairy farmers to increase profitability, ABS has been able to hold the number one position in Australia over the last two years.

ABS’s genetic profitability status, proven by their ranking capability across multiple indexes in a variety of countries. Notable the BPI$ and NM$ are both indexes that measure genetic merit in terms of animal profitability to the farmer. This development has come about through ABS’s core focus on breeding efficient, no fuss animals.

Globally ABS is recognised as a biotech company. From the co-development of the first semen tank to the recent ground-breaking launch of our innovative Sexcel® sexed genetics product, ABS continues to challenge the status quo.

ABS Global has an extensive history in New Zealand. In 1973 American Breeding Services (ABS Global) purchased Animal Breeding Services Ltd. With it, ABS Global brought immense influence to the New Zealand dairy population from its breeding program in America. The company which used the name “Ambreed” for telex communications between the USA and NZ officially took on the name when kiwi staff acquired the interest of the business in 1976. It is clear to see that ABS Global’s strategically bred genetics have been influencing some of the best in New Zealand pasture-based dairy systems for decades. Today many New Zealand dairy farmers still regard ABS Global’s pasture-based genetic line up as the best in the world.

We visited Rikus Scheepers, a man of vast experience dairy farming with both genetic lines ups to find out how the ABS Global pasture-based line-up is performing in New Zealand.

Rikus, originating from South Africa has spent the last 25 years of his life working with dairy cattle. From sitting in on his first AI course at just 7 years old in South Africa to managing a 1900 cow herd near Ashburton, Rikus and his wife made the move to New Zealand just six years ago. Rikus quickly noticed the difference between the ABS cows he had always milked and what has become the status quo here in New Zealand. Rikus tells us about his experiences and why he believes together ABS and Samen NZ have gotten pasture-based right in this year’s bull line up and why he believes it is the best bull line up for pasture-based systems.

“What better way to improve my herd than with ABS Genetics, I have worked with them all my life, it is reliable, I know it works, we did the production on worse pastures it is just that simple.”

Rikus’s #1 ABS bull this season is Avatar. “Currently I don’t think there is honestly a better bull for pasture-based systems than Avatar, if you look at his linear traits he literally ticks all of the boxes and the same with Atrium as well”

Rikus uses Sexcel on his heifers as they are the most valuable animals in his herd and he wants to fast track his genetic progress. Currently, the bottom 30% of his herd is mated to beef. Moving forward Rikus’s goal next season is to move to 100% AI using Excels on his top cows and putting the rest into the beef to help reduce waste and produce a valuable beef animal.

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