Genetics genius's legacy lives on
28th Oct 08, 8:30am
Peter Wishart's legacy will live on in the Wishart gene, according to the southern stud breeding industry. The leading romney stud breeder died suddenly on his farm at Tussock Creek, near Winton, last Monday from a suspected heart attack said The Southland Times . Mr Wishart was described by southern farmers and the scientific community as an innovative forward thinker who pushed the boundaries of production in the romney breed. AgResearch Invermay scientist Dr George Davis recalled a man with an "incredible" memory for figures and tag numbers. The pair, were believed to be on the cusp of finding a gene marker for a prolificacy gene, which had been identified in Mr Wishart's flock. In the 1990s Mr Wishart discovered one of his ewes had bred triplets every year for the past seven years. Further investigations revealed that one copy of the Wishart gene would produce another 40 lambs per 100 ewes or a 40% lift in ewe lambing percentage. While hundreds of rams have been progeny tested it could be several more years before a gene marker was found, Dr Davis said. This year Mr Wishart achieved 170% lambing. His ewes have also been noted for their high embryonic survival rates, strong maternal traits and cold tolerance. Mr Wishart and wife Jan won many prestigious farming awards, which included the Romney Farmer of the Year, the AC Cameron Award and a merit award in the 2008 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.