Participants in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) Generation Next programme have heard from Otago Peninsula farmer Brendon Cross during a recent visit to the Cross family's farm.

The programme was the brainchild of BLNZ southern South Island extension manager Olivia Ross, which was taken up by the southern South Island farmer council.

Each year, 20 participants from the sheep and beef sector are selected to be part of a three-module programme.

The second module of this year's programme was held in Dunedin recently and it was based around agri-tools, technology and genetics.


On the first day, participants were upskilled on a wide range of technologies, including how to formulate agri-tech and simple feed budgeting templates with the team at AbacusBio, while Ospri's Nikki Penno took the group through a Nait and Tb "101 workshop".

The day concluded with a visit to Roselle Farm, farmed by Brendon and Paula Cross, winners of the 2016 Otago Ballance Farm Environment award. Farmer council chairman Hamish Bielski then gave a talk on his road to farm ownership.

The second day started at BLNZ Genetics with building breeding objectives and genetic essentials for commercial farmers, before the module finished at AgResearch's Invermay campus, viewing CT scanning of rams and the genomics laboratory.

The group gained new information and skills and was looking forward to its final meet-up in late November, which would involve a processing plant tour along with marketing, mental health, nutrition and insurance aspects, Miss Ross said.