[08 March/Rural News]

LIC co-operative re-opened its semen process centre in Manawatu this week, after spending over $1 million to revamp it. The co-operative is the country’s largest supplier of artificial breeding services and dairy genetics. The renovations enable LIC to enhance its export capabilities as well as use the centre as a back-up to its facilities in Hamilton. The centre was converted in 2008 into a seasonal semen production facility with the sole purpose of collecting and processing bull semen for export into the EU market. Last year, it exported 400,000 semen straws to the EU. Chief Executive Wayne McNee reported the upgrade allows the co-operative to deliver value for its shareholders in New Zealand as high demand for quality pasture-based genetics internationally continues to grow. Improvements include an upgraded laboratory, an additional laboratory for the production of sexed semen, allowing the co-operative to meet this growing demand.