Genetics, wool and non-mulesing management to feature at Merinolink day

Sheep Central, May 28, 2018

The MerinoLink team, from left, Richard Keniry, Cumnock, Sally Martin, Robert Mortimer, Matt Crozier, Steve Jarvis, Rachael Gawne and Craig Wilson.

GENETIC technology, the wool value chain and non-mulesing management techniques will be all under the spotlight when growers from across the nation gather for the MerinoLink conference on June 20.

To be held at Mercure Goulburn from 8am to 4.30pm, the conference will be followed by a MerinoLink field day on June 21 at Cavan Station, Yass, showcasing on-farm data collection for improving productivity and the progeny of the 2017 MerinoLink sire evaluation.

Conference co-ordinator and MerinoLink chief executive officer Sally Martin said all members of the wool and sheep meats supply chain were welcome, with the conference aimed at providing the latest in industry information and research.

Ms Martin said commercial producers would hear how MerinoLink research project outcomes could be incorporated in their enterprise to lift profitability.

“Of interest to all producers will be a summary of an Australian Wool Innovation project that looked at how 40 Merino businesses have moved to non-mulesed enterprises, the production benefits and wool market, along with what Australian Wool Innovation is doing around this issue,’’ Ms Martin said.

“Speakers will also be looking at grower-to-mill alliances and networks, and the trade-offs for Merino breeders chasing the dual purpose sheep.

“Growers will learn how data collected through technology, such as Flock Profile testing and the RamSelect app, can be effectively used to achieve breeding objectives at a commercial breeder level.

“This event has now grown into one of the major industry events on the calendar for growers wanting to add to their knowledge bank and increase productivity.’’

Keynote speaker and former principal research scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries, Dr Kevin Atkins, will outline the QPLU$ project focused on Merino breeding fundamentals.

Centre Plus principal Mark Mortimer, Tullamore, will cover the journey from raw data to Australian Sheep Breeding Values while David Vandenberghe, Wattle Dale Merinos, Scadden, WA, will offer tips and tricks for producers using DNA pedigrees.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s adoption manager (genetics) David Packer will outline the National Livestock Genetics Consortium’s role in guiding priority research, development and adoption programs.

The University of New England and MerinoLink collaborative DNA Stimulation Project will also be explored by Mr Packer.

Afternoon sessions incorporate Australian Wool Innovation’s program manager genetics and animal welfare, Geoff Lindon, speaking on moving to a non-mulesing enterprise.

The conference will be rounded out by Steve Read, Michell Pty Ltd, Adelaide, on product quality down the wool value chain, and Melbourne University’s Dr John Webb-Ware on the productivity trade-offs for Merino flocks.

A feature of the conference will be the Hour of Power, a fast-paced, informative session presented by nine researchers, scholars and innovators, aged 18 to 30 years, from across Australia.

Their topics range from shorter shearing intervals and lamb survival to accelerating genetic gain through technologies.

An eye muscle and fat scanning demonstration will be carried out by Trevor Pearce, Pearce Scanning, and Mark Mortimer, Centre Plus, at the MerinoLink field day at Cavan Station, Yass, from 9.30am to 2.30pm on June 21.

There will also be practical on-farm animal assessments, effective on-farm data collection for improving productivity and an overview of sire evaluation. The 2017-drop progeny from the MerinoLink Sire Evaluation Project will be on display.

Art4Agriculture national program director Lynn Strong will be guest speaker at the MerinoLink dinner to be held at the Mercure Goulburn on June 20 from 6.30pm.

To register for the MerinoLink conference and field day go to the MerinoLink website or contact Sally Martin on 0400 782 477, or Rachael Gawne on 0428 212 801 or email [email protected]


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