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Case studies

Introduction

Sheep Genetics: Genetic improvement for a sustainable and profitable Australian sheep industry facilitated by the world’s best sheep genetic evaluation system.

The use of genetics has become an increasingly important tool in helping Australian sheep producers to improve the productivity of their wool, lamb and sheepmeat enterprises.

Sheep Genetics has been developed by Australian Wool Innovation Ltd and Meat and Livestock Australia and is the national genetic information and evaluation service for the meat and wool sectors of the sheep industry.

Sheep Genetics is comprised of the records of around one million individual Merino sheep, and a similar number of terminal and maternal sire breeds.

The data has been drawn from the combination of Merino Benchmark, LAMBPLAN, CSIRO Select Breeding Services, Merino Genetics Services, Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA), Central Ttest Sire Evaluation databases and other independent providers.

The core Sheep Genetics product is the provision and maintenance of a national database for the calculation of breeding values using a single standard for genetic information.

These breeding values will be released in the form of trademarked Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). ASBVs are designed to be used by ram breeders and commercial producers to compare the genetic potential of rams and ewes for a range of industry agreed traits, across flocks, independent of the environment and location.

ASBVs will be delivered via MERINOSELECT and LAMBPLAN, which have been designated for the wool and prime lamb sectors respectively.

MERINOSELECT is for Merino ram breeders and commercial wool producers. It is the new brand name for Merino genetic information combining data from the current Merino schemes into a national, consistent and quality assured service.

LAMBPLAN continues as the brand name under which genetic information is delivered to Terminal, Maternal and Dual Purpose ram breeders and commercial lamb and sheep producers.

Brands for other breeds will be developed as they elect to use the Sheep Genetics. The case studies in this book are designed to showcase how producers in the meat and wool sectors, both ram breeders and commercial producers, are currently using genetics to aid their breeding and selection systems and improve productivity.

They are all enthusiastic about the development of Sheep Genetics and are embracing it as a valuable tool in their future commercial and breeding operations.