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Beyond the Bale : September 2018
ON FARM 59 “There are lots of factors that contribute to an animal’s resilience. Immune competence, or the capacity of an animal’s immune system to fight disease, is one such factor we will be assessing. We will also look at their temperament and ability to cope with stress, such as that induced by standard management practices.” The F1 New England wethers will have annual assessments detailing their health records, coupled with annual visual assessment and measurement of wool, carcase and growth. After three years of data has been collected a full economic analysis will be undertaken to estimate the value of incorporating resilience into breeding and selection programs. CSIRO was fortunate to attract further AWI funding to allow lambs to be tagged at birth and additional records to be captured. The New England’s site manager Dr Jen Smith described how the information collected by the project will help to explore the relationships between fitness, productivity and longevity. “We are collecting comprehensive birth records and noting any incidence of compromises to fitness at birth, and throughout life such as injury, illness and mortality (when and why). We hope to share our early results at next year’s field day,” outlined Jen. It takes a small army to plan and run the site field days, and AMSEA and AWI would like to thank and acknowledge the site committees, site hosts (NSW DPI and CSIRO) plus sponsors of the Macquarie and New England sites for their efforts above and beyond to make the field days come together. Finally, the MLP project team is often asked what has been learnt since the project commenced in 2015. As much as we would like to make some early observations, the aim of the project is to evaluate ewes for life and to understand the drivers, economics and genetics of ewe lifetime productivity. For many traits that are lowly heritable, such as reproduction, it’s really important that we have repeat records to ensure the validity of results and be confident in any information we generate. So hang tight, as soon as the results are robust we’ll be sure to share the information! In the meantime, the MLP and standard sire evaluation reports are available on www. wool. com/MLP or come to a site field day. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/MLP MERINO LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT UPDATE The crowd at the Macquarie field day. PHOTO: Emma Grabham AMSEA executive officer Ben Swain undertaking pen side sire introductions at the New England field day. Some of the New England site committee who attended the field day: Martin Oppenheimer, Jen Smith, Andrew Swan, Katrina Blomfield, Jock McLaren, Peta Bradley, Hugh Nivison, Duncan Lance and Kim Barnet.
In the Shops - September 2018