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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
44 ON FARM The highly successful MLP field days held in the first half of 2019 showcased the project ewes and their early results. MLP field days are open to the wool industry and provide the opportunity to receive the latest project results, network with other Merino enthusiasts and talk with project team members. The display of the project ewes is always of great interest to attendees who take the opportunity to undertake their own hands- on inspection. Ewes have been generally penned in their sire progeny groups with accompanying wool and carcase results. Sires in the MLP project have been specifically selected in order to generate ewe progeny that are both industry relevant and representative. The sires were chosen at each site to include a range of Merino types, skin types, performance, age, horn status, industry usage and breeding philosophies. This diversity of genetics means the drivers of lifetime productivity can be fully MERINO LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT UPDATE explored, along with any trade-offs between production elements. Introduction to each sire at the field days is important and enables attendees to appreciate where that sire fits in with the objectives of the project. An introduction of each sire is held next to the pen of his progeny at each MLP field day with presenters outlining the reason the ram is being researched, as well as running through the results on display and progeny group observations shared by one of the site classers. This process has received overwhelming positive feedback from field day attendees. MACQUARIE – SHOWCASING SIRE BY EWE TYPE INTERACTION The July field day at the Macquarie site was the first public inspection of the 2018 drop progeny with each sire’s progeny group MLP FAST FACTS • The AWI-funded Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) project is a $7 million (plus $5 million from partners), 10-year partnership between AWI, the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA), nominating stud Merino breeders and site hosts. • The project, which commenced in 2015, aims to increase the understanding of the genetics, environment and economic interactions for a diverse range of Merino types producing wool, lambs and meat during their lifetime. • The MLP project runs at five sites where sire evaluation trials operate for the first two years and then continue tracking performance of ewe progeny as they proceed through four to five joinings and annual shearings. • A full suite of assessments will be undertaken during the MLP project including visual trait scoring, the objective assessment of a range of key traits, classer gradings and index evaluations. • A unique and extensive dataset will result and be used to enhance existing Merino breeding and selection strategies, for both ram sellers and buyers, to deliver greater lifetime productivity and woolgrower returns. Ben Swain, AMSEA Executive Officer in the pens at New England, June 2019. Site classer Chris Bowman on the microphone at Macquarie, July 2019. Ben Swain, AMSEA Executive Officer (far right) at Macquarie, July 2019. FIELD DAY SNAPSHOT • The Macquarie and New England MLP sites recently hosted field days, following a March field day at Temora hosted by MerinoLink, and a project showcase at Balmoral’s February Sire Evaluation Field Day. • 2,700 ewes penned across the sites and available for hands-on inspection. • 59 progeny groups displayed: 16 at Macquarie, 30 at New England and 13 at Temora. • 59 sires introduced pen-side with accompanying project results. • With additional displays by reproduction results and sire x ewe type. • 450 woolgrower and industry attendees. • Upcoming field day: Pingelly WA, 25 October. PEN-SIDE SIRE INTRODUCTIONS
In the Shops - September 2019