Data Management

This includes all the information that you will need for preparing and sending your data to Sheep Genetics. For any further information that you require on data formatting please contact the Sheep Genetics office on or 02 8055 1818

Preparing Data
The 16 Digit Identification
Age Stages & Trait Headings
Other Datafile Requirements
Analysis Schedule
Submitting Data
Validation of Data

Preparing Data

In order to provide accurate breeding values Sheep Genetics requires information in three key areas
  1. Pedigree
  2. Performance
  3. Management

Information can be supplied to Sheep Genetics (SG) using a correctly formatted electronic file. The SG database will support the following file formats, providing that the information contained within the file is structured correctly.

  • CSV file (Comma Separated Value text file)
  • TXT file (space delimited text file)
  • DBF file (DBASE III or greater file)
  • BVEST file (space delimited BVEST file)
  • XLS file (Microsoft Excel file)

A correct file will have:

  • column headings that match the recommended SG names,
  • data that is correctly structured to reflect management groups,
  • dates are supplied for all measurements, and
  • 16 digit codes are used to identify all animals (including pedigree).

The 16 Digit Identification

First 2 digits    Breed of the flock                                                       BB

Next 4 digits    Registered (or unregistered) flock number          FFFF

Next 4 digits    Year of birth                                                                 YYYY

Last 6 digits    On-farm sheep id number*                                      TTTTTT


It is recommended that where possible breeders should include the last two digits for the year of drop as the start of the last six digits. For example, for year of birth 2005 include 05, so that the last six digits are 05xxxx.

For example:         

50   4615  2006    061234
Breed code  Flock code Year of birth  Tag number



Age Stages and Trait Headings

When formatting your data please ensure the trait has the right age stage included. The wrong age stage can potentially see your data excluded. The age stages used by Sheep Genetics are:



Age Definition 1



Birth to 24 hours



42-120 days

(7-16 weeks)

Early post


120-210 days

(4-7 months)

Post weaning


210-300 days

(7-10 months)



300-400 days

(10-13 months)



400-540 days

(13-18 months)



540 days or older

(18 mths or older)

1 The average age of the sheep in the Management Group.
A full list of trait headings can be found here

Other Datafile Requirements

Date of Measurement

Eg. dd/mm/yyyy (day / month / year)
A measurement date must be supplied with all traits submitted to Sheep Genetics.
While you can submit two or more different measurement dates at any one age stage, they need to be for different traits. If the same trait is measured more than once in an age stage, only the first measurement is used in the analysis. 
Multiple test dates at the one age stage are accommodated by adding a number following the abbreviation. For example a fleece weight might be taken two weeks prior to fibre diameter testing at yearling age stage;
y1gfw, y1ddmmyyyy, y2fd, y2ddmmyyyy

Management Grouping

A Management Group is a group of sheep with all the following characteristics:
a.      Born under similar management conditions at one site.
b.      Born over a period that is no longer than 42 days.
c.      Male or female progeny from one Breed Group.
In most cases data is submitted as one management group, therefore an identifier is not required. It is when a management group is split that identifiers are required. See Management subgroup. When males and females are submitted in the same file Sheep Genetics automatically separates the data into different management groups. 

Management Subgroup

If sheep in a Management Group are split into two or more different groups or mobs before their next measurement (i.e. show team vs. paddock rams), then these different subgroups need to be randomly allocated, identified and recorded - or there needs to be strong linkage between the sub groups
This ensures that Sheep Genetics is only analysing animals that have been treated the same way. Once an animal is in a different subgroup, they will be compared against the animals within that subgroup for any subsequent measurements.
Each Management Subgroup is identified by a number (1, 2, etc) in a Subgroup field. This subgroup information needs to be submitted with every trait that has been measured..
“Wgrp, Egrp,Pgrp,Ygrp,Hgrp & Agrp” range is 1 to 9 .. 1 is assumed to be default for all animals

Genetic Grouping

Genetic groups are segments of a flock code that for the traits submitted are considered to be of significantly different genetic standard.  Genetic groups are not required in a fully pedigreed flock because the genetic performance information the ewe brings to the progeny overrides the need for genetics groups. In a flock that only has sire pedigree, any sections of the flock that are genetically different need to have a genetic group allocated. An example might be a flock that has both a superfine and a fine flock – or a top tier and a lower tier. Genetic linkage is required between tiers.
If more than one genetic group is present in a flock then each genetic group should be assigned a code (GG1, GG2, etc). These codes need to be consistently applied each year the data is submitted. If there is only one genetic group in a flock there is no need to submit genetic group codes
“GenGroup”: 1 to 9 or GG1, GG2..9 where 1 is assumed to be default for all animals

Site Codes

Site codes are used to identify animals as contemporaries that have been running at the same site (and in the same management group), but that may differ in flock or breed codes. For example, polled and horned Merino sheep have different breed codes but are often run together from birth where a property has a horned and a polled stud at the same site.
By allocating a site code the breeding values more accurately reflect the genetic merit of the individual animals and allow for more accurate comparisons of the horned and polled sheep. Similarly, Suffolks and White Suffolks are often run together but have different breed codes.
Some flocks may have several locations or properties but are based on the same genetics (the ewe base is the same at each site). This means the same registered or unregistered flock code is used, but different site codes are applied to account for the different various locations.
“Site”, is alphanumeric and has been allocated by Sheep Genetics. Codes are available by contacting

Syndicate Matings

Syndicate matings are used where a flock joins a group of rams to an allocation of ewes. Syndicate mating groups can be recorded in one of three options
NAM: Named syndicate groups (NAM) are used when the identity of all rams in the syndicate is known and they are all recorded in the relevant Sheep Genetics breed group. These syndicate groups are recorded as the first 3 characters of the flock id being NAM, followed by the syndicate group. The year section of the ID should be set as the year of drop minus one. By using the year of drop minus one this means the syndicate is only ever used once.
  • Eg. 60-9999-2006-NAM001 (where 2006 is the year of drop minus one)
A separate file is provided to sheep genetics listing the syndicate name and the members of the syndicate. The file contains two headers “SYNDICATE”, “MEMBER”. 
SIB: 1/2 SIB Syndicates (SIB) are used when all rams in the syndicate have the same sire but the identity of the rams has not been recorded or the rams were not all recorded in the relevant Sheep Genetics breed group. These syndicate groups are recorded as the first 3 characters of the flock id being SIB, followed by the syndicate group. The year section of the ID should be set as the year of drop minus one. The sire should be recorded for the syndicate group.
  • Eg. 60-9999-2006-SIB001 (where 2006 is the year of drop minus one)
A maximum of ten rams and/or sires can be used in a NAM or SIB syndicate.
SYN: Unknown syndicates (SYN) are used when the syndicate cannot be recorded effectively as either a NAM or SYB syndicate. These syndicate groups are recorded as the first 3 characters of the flock id being SYN, followed by the syndicate group. The year section of the ID should be set as the year of drop minus one.
  • Eg. 60-9999-2006-SYN001 (where 2006 is the year of drop minus one)

Submitting Commercial or Cull Animals

Identifying commercial or cull animals that are submitted to Sheep Genetics to provide more information but do not incur an analysis charge. Breeding values are not reported for these animals.

Include CU or CO in the animals 16 digit id. The CU and CO codes can be recorded in the first two digits of the sheep number section of the ID (last 6 digits of the ID).

  • eg. 160999 - 2019 - CU0001

Submitting dries and deads for reproduction analysis

While Sheep Genetics is finalising software support for submitting directly recorded pregnancy scanning and joining records, we ask breeders to submit their scanning information in the following form:
For dry ewes, each dry joining should produce a phantom animal with your flock code, the current drop year and the last six digits of the ID starting with the code DRY followed by a sequence number.  The DRY animal should include full parentage (the joining sire and the dam ID).  No other records should accompany these animals i.e.
509999-2011-DRY001, 50999-2011-DRY002 etc. as the animal ID, with sire and dam recorded against it in your data collection software.
For dams who are confirmed as pregnant but who do not drop a live lamb (i.e. do not carry the lamb to term or birth a dead lamb at term) the full parentage of a phantom lamb should be recorded, substituting DAB (dead at birth) in the ID ie.
509999-2011-DAB001, 50999-2011-DAB002 etc.
It is important that the phantom lamb information includes the sire and dam as otherwise the repro information cannot be used to feed back into breeding values.

Analysis Schedule

The cut-off dates for each analysis are:
  • LAMBPLAN                  1st and 15th of each month
  • MERINOSELECT           7th and 21st of each month
Data needs to be sent to Sheep Genetics by 5pm on the cut-off date. If the cut-off date falls on a weekend, then the data needs to be sent to Sheep Genetics by 5pm on the Friday before. 
Up to 15 days is allowed from the close of the run before results are released.

Submitting Data

To submit your data to Sheep Genetics you need to email your datafile to
It is recommended that you submit your information to Sheep Genetics up to 2 days before the cut off date. This allows sufficient time to identify and fix problems that may occur with your dataset.

Validation of Data

All data that is sent into Sheep Genetics is validated once added to the database. Please check the exclusions report issued to you to see if there are issues that need addressing. Records that are shown in the report are not included in the analysis.


A full list of software products is listed on the following link

When selecting the software product for your business please consider factors such as:
  • Ease of use
  • Importing information from other sources
  • Compatibility with new technologies
  • What information can be reported?
  • What is the cost and availability of support and training.