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Beyond the Bale : Jun - Jul 08 Supplement
genetICs resources MErINoSELECt www.sheepgenetics.org.au 02 6773 2948 this is the national genetic information and evaluation service for the sheep industry’s wool sector. It calculates the across-flock progeny breeding values for more than 0 key traits, including resistance to parasites. Merino Superior Sires www.merinosuperiorsires.com.au this annual report allows direct comparison of Merino sires evaluated at 1 central test Sire evaluation sites across Australia. It includes parasite resistance traits and breech scores on unmulesed sheep. Visual Sheep Scores guide free from the aWI Helpline 1800 070 099 this guide allows plain and bare-breech sires to be better described to a standard and promoted to ram and semen buyers. the breech traits included in the guide are breech wrinkle, breech cover, dag and crutch cover. Breech strike genetics project officers tim dyall (left) and ray honnery, measure the degree of breech bareness in a trial flock ewe. looking at the big genetic picture south Australian poll merino stud ‘kelvale’ is one of a growing number of studs breeding sheep that do not require mulesing on traits such as lifting wool density to return fleece weight.” The Kellocks are running their own trial to test this theory. To expand their commercial flock enterprise at Keith they had to buy in more ewes, but could not find any to match their existing flock. “So we are trying to bring the ones we bought up to speed with the sheep we have bred ourselves, which are no longer mulesed. We are pretty confident we can have them there in two generations, and people who might not be prepared to cull as hard as we do could achieve it in three generations.” Running an 800-head stud ewe flock, along with 100 sire rams and 4500 commercial ewes, the Kellocks sell about 200 rams a year to a client base around Australia. With buyers now seeking plainer bodied Poll Merinos, he expects this may lift to 250 or 300 rams in 2008. ‘Kelvale’ sheep average 21 to 22 microns By Kellie Penfold B y sourcing the right genetics and correctly classing their existing flock, in two generations commercial woolgrowers could be breeding sheep that no longer need mulesing, says stud Merino breeder Stephen Kellock. Mr Kellock, his wife Peta, parents David and Bev, and brother Greg and sister-in-law Jane, run ‘Kelvale Poll Merinos’ at Burra, in South Australia’s mid-north, and also at Keith, in the upper south- east of the state. He says it is not a complex process and often only involves a change in the mindset of the woolgrower. “By chasing a plainer-bodied animal, in the first few years you may have to be prepared to take a slight drop in wool cut if you want to get to no mulesing quickly,” Mr Kellock says. “But then it is easy in the second and third generations to work roAd to 010 SuPPLeMent Beyond the BALe 7 susceptibility to flystrike. Selection should focus on removing animals from the flock that show a predisposition to flystrike through fleece rot, low flystrike immunity (repeatedly getting flystruck), worms and scouring, and conformation and fleece faults. one advantage of culling excessively wrinkly sheep is that this can be done early in the animal’s life. Body wrinkle and breech wrinkle can be easily identified and production losses minimised by removing these animals before breeding, thus eliminating the problem quickly. Growers are encouraged to seek further information via field days, contacting studs, attending research updates, seeking advice from others in the industry and relevant websites. the control line was struck compared with 4.4 per cent of the unmulesed sheep in the intense selection line. In the control line, 11.4 per cent of the unmulesed sheep were struck – meaning the same level of breech strike occurred in the unmulesed selected animals as in the mulesed control animals. Mulesing affected growth rates at both sites, with mulesed lambs significantly lower in bodyweight at weaning, but the difference was not significant by six months of age. Mulesing did not affect wool quality or yield. ú
Apr - May 08
Jun - July 08