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LIC

LIC

LIC is a New Zealand agritech and herd improvement co-operative that supports its 10,000 livestock shareholder farmers to breed and select cows that more efficiently convert the food they eat into milk. Of equal focus is maximising the productive life of herds through the delivery of superior genetics and technology, and minimising the impact cows have on our environment.

With origins dating back to 1909, LIC has a long history of delivering world-leading innovation to the dairy industry however it’s even more relevant today to farmers given the rapid change the sector is undergoing.

To best support farmers, LIC invests 5.6% of its revenue into R&D compared to the primary industry average of around 1%. In 2019 LIC delivered 4.5 million straws of bull semen to farmers across New Zealand and analysed more than 11 million milk samples. Through LIC’s work, around 80% of cows across the country were sired by a LIC bull creating some of the highest rates of genetic gain in the world for dairy herds.

As a co-op, LIC understands the dual role it must play in driving positive change through collective action on climate change in New Zealand and supporting its farmer shareholders on the journey.  It is committed to driving sustainability improvements and reducing emissions on-farm with projects in both these spheres well underway. Farm Environment Plans are in place for LIC Innovation Farm with 2025 targets for water use, nutrient run-off and effluent as well as increasing the recycling of materials on farm.

LIC is also leading a seven-year programme called Resilient Dairy: Innovative Breeding for a Sustainable Future with investment and support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and DairyNZ. The programme assesses new disease management technologies and advancements in genomic science to improve cow productivity, and produce better cows with improved health, wellbeing and environmental resilience. Over the life of the programme, LIC will have invested $11.2m with MPI and DairyNZ investing $10.3m and $4.2m respectively.

To further support farmers in meeting environmental requirements, LIC is running a joint research project from 2020 into the link between methane emissions from cows and their genetics. The project hopes to ultimately provide Kiwi dairy farmers with the ability to breed more ‘climate-friendly cows’ that produce less methane and help achieve 2050 targets for farmers set under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019. The project will establish whether variability of methane emissions between New Zealand dairy bulls can be linked back to their genetics and if the methods used to capture trial data are valid. If successful, the project presents an opportunity to utilise this variability to breed cows from low methane-emitting bulls. If the first trial is successful, the same method will be used on around 300 bulls in 2021.

The project has received funding from the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGGRC) which is in turn funded by the government through its Primary Growth Partnership fund.

For LIC the focus is on always improving with the support of its 800 staff and around 2000 seasonal workers, and a growing presence offshore. The team is proud to have won several awards in recent years including the GIA Industry Award for helping to protect the national herd from Mycoplasma bovis at the 2019 BioSecurity Awards run by MPI. More recently LIC won two awards at the 2020 NZ HR Awards in Auckland for Organisational Change and Development and Best Wellness Programme recognising the successful transformation the co-operative is on to support both its farmer shareholders and people.

www.lic.co.nz