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LIC offers semen credit in wake of ‘hairy calves’ genetic defect

BUSINESSDESK: Livestock Improvement, the New Zealand farmer-owned company that sells bull semen and runs a dairy genetics database, will offer a credit for a genetic defect that caused "hairy calves" to be born from the offspring of a bull called Matrix.

LIC chairman Murray King says crediting the cost of all semen and inseminations from the bull responsible does not amount to compensation to farmers who own the calves.

There are about 900 involved, with 1500 calves carrying the mutant gene.

"We stand by the decision that compensation is not appropriate but the LIC board believes that a gesture of goodwill is the right thing to do for the farmers who have daughters of the bull Matrix," he says.

The credit would extend to all inseminations from Matrix, including those that resulted in healthy offspring.

"Defects of this nature are rare – this is only the second of this type to have occurred in more than 50 years of LIC breeding more than 9,000 bulls," he says.

LIC has recommended the animals be tested and has offered free DNA examination.

LIC shares can be traded among farmers via the NZX platform and were last at $4.90, having fallen 2% this year.

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