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McKenzie believes traditional farming will remain the backbone of rural communities like Wairarapa for generations to come, but to adapt to the changing global climate.
Mark McKenzie admits he’s frightened when he thinks about the impact of increasingly extreme weather conditions on New Zealand agriculture as climate change adds yet another uncertainty to the already fickle world of farming.
McKenzie says it’s a major reason why he imported the American Speckle Park beef breed into the country. Speckle Park are extremely hardy animals, drought resistant and thrive in a temperature range from 40 below in Canada to 40 above in Australia.
They’re fast-growing and produce tender marbled beef, with large eye fillet cuts, meaning farmers can improve their yields significantly compared to traditional breeds. And so far, they have helped improve returns for every beef farm he’s worked with.
McKenzie believes traditional farming will remain the backbone of rural communities like Wairarapa for generations to come, but to adapt to the changing global climate and stay ahead of competitors.
New Zealand needs genetic innovation to keep the gene stock of our livestock constantly evolving.