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Beyond the Bale : December 2016
Pingelly New England (Armidale) Elders Balmoral (Harrow) MerinoLink (Temora) Macquarie (Trangie) NEW SITES The MLP project has recently welcomed two new sites increasing the number of active sites to five. Three original sites, Harrow in western Victoria (‘Elders Balmoral’), Temora in the Riverina of NSW (‘MerinoLink’), Pingelly in the Great Southern region of WA (‘Pingelly’), are now supplemented by sites at Armidale in the New England region of NSW (‘New England’), and the most recently established site located at Trangie in the Central West region of NSW (‘Macquarie’). The Macquarie site committee has teamed up with NSW DPI’s Trangie Agricultural Research Centre and the New England site committee is partnering with CSIRO’s Chiswick research facility to deliver the new sites. Setting itself apart from the other four sites, and in addition to the standard trial design, the Macquarie site aims to explore possible interactions between ewe type and sires. Ewes have been sourced from commercial clients of two NSW based studs, MERINO LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT UPDATE Centre Plus and Towalba, and will be evenly allocated to each sire. The New England site will run traditional superfine/fine ewes sourced from the ewe base of the CSIRO Chiswick station. New England adds a critical summer rainfall site and as such offers a chance for the project to explore a unique set of environmental conditions throughout life in a traditional fine wool growing region. The addition of the two new sites will see a total of 166 sires and approximately 5000 F1 ewe progeny evaluated for life across the five sites. SIRE NOMINATIONS In a strong industry show of support for the MLP project, more than 100 sire nominations were received for the 59 positions available for the next round of joining at the Macquarie, Pingelly, MerinoLink and New England sites. The project team is working with the site committees, project executive and industry steering committees to finalise the joining lists at each site. A strong set of sire selection principles will guide the selection and those that miss out this year are encouraged to consider involvement in the next round of joinings. The project team look forward to advising the industry of the final joining list as soon as the selection process is completed. The selection principles underpinning sire choice for each site requires sires to be industry representative (horn/poll, different types, different breeding philosophies). In addition, sires are sought with high and low performance for traits, a balance of young and old sires and also rams that have had significant impact in the industry through on farm sales, semen sales or in show winning success. A diverse list of sires involved will enable the project to fully explore all the characteristics that impact on lifetime productivity and help strengthen existing selection approaches to better achieve improved lifetime productivity and profitability. FAST FACTS • The AWI-funded Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) project is a $5 million,10-year collaborative partnership between AWI, the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association, nominating stud Merino breeders and site hosts around Australia. The project aims to increase the understanding of the genetic capacity for the Merino ewe to deliver high quality wool, lambs and meat throughout its life. • The MLP project now operates at five sites across Australia. The sites operate as standard sire evaluation sites at the conclusion of which, the project continues with ongoing measurement and visual classing of all ewe progeny throughout their lives including four to five joinings and annual shearings. 48 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2017