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Beyond the Bale : June 2018
NUMBER OF SIRES In total, there have been 168 AI sire joinings to 90 ewes each; 135 individual sires along with 33 joinings where repeat sires were used to provide linkage between years at a site and between the five sites. SIRE POLL / HORN STATUS A few sires remain to be genotyped for poll status. The current numbers are: Poll Status No. % Horn / Horn 53 32% Poll / Horn 46 27% Poll / Poll 47 28% Yet to be tested 21 13% There are approximately one third true polls, one third true horns and one third carrying both the poll and horn gene. MERINOSELECT STATUS MERINOSELECT membership No. % MERINOSELECT 118 70% DOHNE MERINO 1 1% Non-MERINOSELECT 49 29% Through the open nomination process, 30% of the sires selected are from non-MERINOSELECT members. AGE OF AI SIRES Drop Current Age No. % 2010 and earlier >8 yo 20 12% 2011-2013 5-7 yo 77 46% 2014-2016 2-4 yo 71 42% There is a mixture of young and proven sires in the project, designed to reduce selection risk but to also use the latest young AI sires available. MERINO TYPE Merino Type No. % Super Fine 20 15% Fine/Medium 88 65% Medium 27 20% There is a balance of sires roughly proportional to the wool types grown in Australia. SIRE ASBVS 30% of sires did not have ASBVs at the time of selection but as their progeny are assessed, these sires eventually gain Breeding Values. To date, of the 135 unique sires used in the project, 120 sires have ASBVs with a very large diversity. AWI and AMSEA are grateful to those breeders who entered sires to facilitate the diversity required. See Table 1 on opposite page. Presentation at the MerinoLink field day on 16 March. The Pingelly field day included a description of the sires’ progeny. The Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) project is designed to generate a unique Merino ewe dataset that can be analysed to better understand how current selection approaches such as breeding values, indexes, genomic information, and the use of visual selection relate to lifetime performance and how breeding strategies might be enhanced to deliver better outcomes to industry. The core focus of the project is 5,000 ewes that will be annually assessed for wool production, carcase traits, conformation, visual performance and importantly, annual reproduction performance. The ewes are the product of five differing ewe bases located in dissimilar environments joined to 135 unique and diverse industry sires. The following stocktake of the project’s ewe base, and sire used, emphasises the diversity achieved in the project. VARIATION IN EWE TYPES AND ENVIRONMENTS Site Location Ewe Type New England Uralla, NSW Super Fine Balmoral Harrow, Vic Fine MerinoLink Temora, NSW Fine/Medium Macquarie Trangie, NSW Fine/Medium Pingelly Pingelly, WA Meat Merino There are a diverse range of ewe types and environments, rainfall, temperature, soil types and altitude. There are a range of link sires that have been joined across ewe types and environments. See the sire listing opposite. THE PROGENY Five thousand daughters from these diverse foundation ewes and AI sires will be assessed both visually and measured through their young ages and over 4 to 5 years as lambing adults. Will the high performing daughters at one and two year old be the high lifetime performers? How were the top lifetime performing ewes assessed as young ewes and what can we learn about selecting the top lifetime performing sheep at young ages. Time will reveal all. More information wwww.wool.com/MLP Episode 30 of AWI’s The Yarn podcast at www.wool.com/podcast MLP DAM & AI SIRE DIVERSITY ACHIEVED 60 ON FARM
In the Shops - September 2018