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Beyond the Bale : June 2019
36 ON FARM MERINOSELECT has added Adult Clean Fleece Weight to the standard ASBVs that appear in their Animal Search function. This can be found by going to www.sheepgenetics.org.au, then: • Click on ‘MERINOSELECT’ • Click on ‘MERINOSELECT Analysis Results’ • You can then click on one the 18 different standard search lists that may interest your enterprise (this includes rams with semen available or currently listed for sale) To specifically search for sires that are high in adult fleece weight, low in wrinkle, and high on both Merino Production and Dual Purpose Indexes several steps need to be followed. • Click on ‘MERINOSELECT Analysis Results’ • Click on ‘Advanced search’ 1. In the ‘General criteria’ section: LOW WRINKLE–HIGH FLEECE WEIGHT PRODUCTIVE SIRES EASIER TO FIND Trait Trait Leader ASBV (top 10%) Average ASBV Bottom 30% Adult Clean Fleece Weight (ACFW) >+19.2 9.4 <+5.3 Breech Wrinkle (EBWR) < -0.7 -0 .2 >+0.1 Breech Cover (EBCOV) <-0.4 -0 .1 >+0.1 Dags (LDAG) <-0.3 -0 .1 >+0.0 Merino Production Plus Index (MP+) >+159 +137 <+128 Dual Purpose Plus Index (DP+) > +160 +137 <+128 ASBV trait leader and percentile • Click on SIRE in the ‘Sire/Dam/Any’ box • Type 20 in the ‘With at least progeny’ box • Click on ‘With current drop progeny’ to tick it 2. In the ‘ASBV criteria’ section, tick the Trait Leader boxes for: • Adult Clean Fleece Weight (ACFW) • Early Breech Wrinkle (EBWR) • Merino Production Plus Index (MP+), and • Dual Purpose Plus Index (DP+) 3. In the ‘Result Sorting’ section: • Click on ‘Merino Production Plus’, so the selected sires appear in decreasing Index order 4. Then you can complete your search: • Click on ‘Search’ in the bottom left hand corner. The data is updated every two weeks but, using data from the 21 April 2019, seven sires (see Figure 1 on opposite page) met the criteria. (Since 2000 there has been a breed reduction of 0.2 breech wrinkle score, a reduction of 0.1 breech cover score and reduction of 0.1 dag score.) MERINOSELECT has added Adult Clean Fleece Weight as a standard ASBV in the website’s Animal Search function. This means that both Yearling and Adult Fleece Weight are displayed – enabling woolgrowers to more reliably select animals that are good for early and adult fleece weight. As ram breeders are increasingly collecting more hogget and adult fleece weight data on their animals (ewes and sires) the accuracy of adult fleece weight ASBVs will increase and will be less driven by the correlations with the young post weaning and yearling age fleece assessments. Importantly the Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) Project continues to raise the focus on older age assessments, both visual and objective, and will provide key outcomes for genetic benchmarking and selection for lifetime productivity. Where breech wrinkle and cover assessments have been taken, adult fleece weight will assist ram breeders to find more sires that are both relatively high for fleece weight and low for wrinkle, and improve the future sustainability and welfare of their Merino enterprise. The Breeding for Breech Strike Resistance project (2006-2016) has shown that gains in both production and welfare traits can be made at the same time but that the rate and impact of the progress is dependent on starting breech scores, environment (length and intensity of the strike risk and risk of dags) and the variability of these traits within each Merino type. FAST FACTS 1. MERINOSELECT has added Adult Clean Fleece Weight as a standard ASBV in its Animal Search function. This means that both Yearling and Adult Fleece Weight are now displayed in the website search function – and therefore woolgrowers will be able to more easily select animals that are good for early and adult fleece weight. 2. The MERINOSELECT search function can be used by an individual to find objectively assessed sires that best meet their breeding objectives. 3. There are sires available to ram breeders that are trait leaders for productivity and welfare traits. 4. Ram breeders are selecting for productivity and welfare; but with more sires assessed for these traits, further increases in the number of suitable sires will occur. 5. Taking older age fleece weights and submitting body and/or wrinkle scores would increase the number of directly measured sires to select from and lead to increases in the genetic gain of these traits. Head to www.sheepgenetics.org.au then from the header menu select ‘Getting started’ and then ‘How to use the databases’.