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Beyond the Bale : December 2017
UPDATES FROM AROUND THE SITES The first of the MLP project F1 ewes at the Balmoral site (Harrow, Vic) were naturally joined in March this year to Merino sires. Achieving a 93% conception rate and tagging 85% of lambs to ewes joined, the project is eagerly awaiting further results to explore reproduction differences. Whilst the first years of results will be interesting, a full five years of lambing will allow for a robust comparison of the genetics of the 25 sires represented within the drop. Meanwhile at Macquarie, located just outside of Trangie in NSW, the site has experienced a tough dry start for their first drop of 2017 lambs. With weaning behind them, the foundation ewes are being prepped for their second and final AI program which will see 16 sires including several leading industry impact sires entered at the site. Macquarie sets itself apart from other sites with a ewe base sourced from two distinctly different types of ewes on skin type. Each sire will be allocated an equal portion of ewes from each skin type in the hope of exploring any sire by skin type interactions. The fantastic lambing conditions at the ultrafine New England site have seen the number of F1 lambs tagged exceeding by 27% the anticipated numbers planned for the site. While the number of superfine rams in the project is lower than other types, the abundance of lambs tagged this year will certainly make sure the genetics from this type of sheep have good representation in the project. TAKING LAST SIRE ENTRIES With the final Macquarie sires selected to generate the 2018 drop progeny, the focus now turns to New England who will complete the 10th and final AI program in the MLP project. Ram breeders interested in having their sire’s genetics evaluated through life at this ultrafine site are encouraged to nominate during December and January. Of the 15 sires that will be entered at the site, eight spots are available for sire nominations, with the remaining spots taken up by four link sires and three industry impact rams. Industry impact rams have been identified by the MLP ISC as having met a particular criteria developed by the committee. In short they sell a considerable volume of semen to a range of Australian ram breeders, they may have been winners of major industry shows, or have had progeny that have had success at a major industry show. These impact rams often have progeny in high demand having sold for significant sums of money – and finally may include index leaders in the MERINOSELECT system. For a list of sires entered into the project visit the project website at www.wool.com/MLP. DON’T MISS THE MLP SITE FIELD DAYS MLP field days (see top table) provide a chance for the industry to come together to inspect firsthand the progeny from the diverse range of sires entered at the sites and to grab a copy of the latest results. A focus of the field days in 2018 will be the delivery of project results packaged from their raw data origins through to flock breeding values and indexes. The Balmoral site is set to boast the biggest ever sire evaluation field day. Some 50 pens will contain the progeny from 47 industry sires (several are link sires and are repeated across the two years of joining). Alongside these ewes will be the first lot of next generation progeny from the F1 ewes. While the other sites may not have as many sire groups to display, they will certainly make up for it with engaging speakers, material to get the most out of the results, the latest in sheep handling and recording technology, plus a chance to network with fellow Merino breeding enthusiasts. With this in mind, don't forget to jot the field day dates down in your diary. The Merino Lifetime Productivity Project is being undertaken in partnership between the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association Incorporated (AMSEA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). AMSEA and AWI would like to acknowledge those entities who also contribute funding, namely woolgrowers through sire evaluation entry fees, site committee in-kind contributions, and sponsors of AMSEA. A special acknowledgement is also made to the Australian Government who support research, development and marketing of Australian wool. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/MLP UPCOMING MLP SITE FIELD DAYS SITE DATE LOCATION CONTACT Balmoral 16 February Harrow, Vic Tom Silcock: 0419 882 239 MerinoLink 16 March Temora, NSW Sally Martin: 0400 782 477 Pingelly 28 March Pingelly, WA Bron Clarke: 0418 957 293 PROJECT CONTACT DETAILS NAME ROLE CONTACT EMAIL Anne Ramsay MLP Project Manager 0400 368 448 email@example.com Ben Swain AMSEA Executive Officer 0427 100 542 firstname.lastname@example.org Geoff Lindon AWI Program Manager Genetics 0427 572 228 email@example.com First MLP drop of Balmoral F2 progeny, grand progeny of 2015 drop MLP sires. 2016 drop MerinoLink ewes winter 2017, now set for joining in late December. The Pingelly (WA) and MerinoLink (Temora, NSW) sites have weaned an impressive number of lambs in their 2017 drop and are now planning for their first natural joinings of the 2016 drop F1 ewes. The MerinoLink site at Temora has identified a late December natural joining to reflect local commercial practices and plan to source Merino rams with a view to use these same rams for subsequent joinings. The ewes were on display at a recent October pre-joining field day and were looking exceptionally good having averaged 65kg at 17months of age. The Pingelly team are emerging from a very dry winter and are in the process of finalising plans for their first natural joining with Merino rams likely to go out with the 2016 drop F1 ewes late in January. The Pingelly site is known for its meat Merino origins and the March field day will be a first chance to hear more about the F1 ewes conception rates and inspect the 2016 and 2017 drops first hand. ON FARM 35