Profit up despite Matrix

Farmer interest in buying DNA-proven technology from dairy genetics co-operative Livestock Improvement took a hit after controversy over its commercial dairy bull Matrix erupted last year, the company's half-year results show.

Communications manager Clare Bayly said sales of DNA-proven straws were down "slightly" for the six months to November 30.

However, sales of the more traditional daughter-proven method of artificial insemination were up over the same period, meaning overall revenue from artificial breeding was up on where it was expected to be.

In March last year the firm confirmed semen from its bull, Matrix, marketed as DNA-proven, had passed a genetic mutation to about half his heifers.

It caused some offspring to be unusually hairy, to have low heat tolerance and not milk properly.

Some farmers sought compensation but were unsuccessful. The firm instead offered reimbursement for Matrix semen and inseminations, and DNA testing of his offspring.

LIC said the overall half-year profit attributable to farmer-shareholders was up $2 million on the same time last year. It posted a net profit after tax of $30m for the six months to November 30, up from $28m for the same period last year. Revenue was $131.5m, up from $120.1m for the previous period.

The balance sheet remained strong, with equity of $214.6m compared to $199.7m at the same time last year.