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Beyond the Bale : December 2011
31 December 2011 BEYOND THE BALE ON-FARM The Temora Agricultural Research and Advisory Station (TARAS) is currently hosting three important trials: firstly a Young Sire Program, secondly a traditional Sire Evaluation Program and thirdly the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Wether Challenge (a commercial genetic evaluation, both wool production and feedlot trial). The Bluechip Livestock Young Sire Program (BLYSP) is a new initiative within the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) umbrella but is different to the traditional programs. 400 Billandri Poll Merino Stud ewes from Western Australia were sourced in November 2010 forming the foundation for the BLYSP, with all ewes having MERINOSELECT Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). Ewes were randomly allocated to each sire group utilising the available MERINOSELECT information. Sires from 20 Merino studs have been entered, from Australian Mega Merinos, Billandri Poll, Bogo Poll, Bundilla Poll, Centre Plus Poll, Coromandel Poll, GRASS Merinos, Grassy Creek, Greendale, Hazeldean Poll, Middleview Poll, Nerstane, Pastora Poll, Pooginook, Roseville Park, Tallawong Poll, Triggervale Poll, Valdemar Poll, Woodpark Poll and Yalgoo. Progeny from the BLYSP are being kept entire, all ram and ewe progeny have full pedigree and will be evaluated under the AMSEA and Sheep Genetics Quality Assurance protocols enabling ASBVs not only on the sires but the progeny for the first time. Bluechip Livestock are utilising cutting edge technology including DNA pedigree, genomics, Precision Sheep Management (PSM) including individual electronic identification, Walk Over Weighing (WOW), Pedigree MatchMaker (PMM) and best practice nutrition and animal health management. The BLYSP is also participating in the AWI/MLA/Sheep CRC Genomic Project II. Three ram progeny from each of the participating sire groups in the BLYSP were selected using preliminary ASBVs and visual assessments by the stud breeders. The future potential of genomics will offer SNP (DNA) pedigrees, increased use of breeding values by the ram breeding industry and increased accuracy (predictability) of those breeding values, especially at younger ages. The second sire evaluation, the Bluechip Livestock Sire Evaluation (BLSE), being conducted at the TARAS is based on flock ewes from Nerstane Merino Stud. The BLSE is being conducted as a "standard" sire evaluation. The new initiative here will be the wether progeny joining the next intake of the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge (2012-2014) with all meat traits assessed. The two sire evaluations have extensive industry linkage including the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus Flock, Sheep Genetics and other sire evaluation sites. More information: lSally Martin, NSW DPI, 0427 401 538, firstname.lastname@example.org lCraig Wilson, Craig Wilson & Associates, email@example.com 0428 250 982 lMarty Moses, Moses & Son Woolbrokers, firstname.lastname@example.org 0417 691 308 FAST FACTS l A new and innovative sire evaluation program is being run at the Temora Agricultural Research and Advisory Station in NSW. l All dams and progeny in the Bluechip Livestock Young Sire Program have MERINOSELECT ASBVs. l Semen contributors have the option to purchase all the progeny, rams and ewes. NEW YOUNG SIRE PROGRAM A NEW AND INNOVATIVE SIRE EVALUATION PROGRAM IS BEING RUN AT THE TEMORA AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND ADVISORY STATION IN NSW. Participants in the Bluechip Livestock Young Sire Program gathered at the Temora Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, NSW. Pictured left to right are: David Taylor and John Sutherland (Pooginook) and James Armstrong (Australian Mega Merinos).