Merino Lifetime Productivity Project springing into life

Terry Sim, September 14, 2015

amsea_mss_colourAUSTRALIA’S Merino Lifetime Productivity Project is up and running with lambs marked at the first trial property near Harrow in Victoria, and negotiation continuing for other sites.

AMSEA recently entered into an agreement with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) to collect data on lifetime productivity on progeny that result from Merino sire evaluation trials, coordinated by AMSEA across Australia.

The AWI/AMSEA Merino Lifetime Productivity Project is the biggest to be run in Australia and aimed to leverage and value-add to Merino sire evaluation that is already commercially funded by ram breeders, through entry fees and a large amount of in-kind industry support.

It is planned that 3800 ewes from 120 sires entered in sire evaluation trials over the next the years will be measured for a range of lifetime productivity traits over a period of 6- 7 years.

First drop of project’s lambs market at Harrow

Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) executive officer Ben Swain said DNA samples have been taken and sent off for pedigreed analysis from project sheep at ‘Tuloona’ near Harrow.

AMSEA is negotiating with property owners at five other sites to finalise another three sites for joining next year, he said. The aim is to have them signed up by the end of October this year for a joining next February-March.

“We may join at four sites next year or we may join at another two and then another one the year after, just to spread the seasonal risk out.

“It’s a national program so we are negotiating with two sites in Western Australia and three in New South Wales,” he said.

“I’m hoping we will end up with one in Victoria, one in Western Australia and one in New South Wales, and then a floater, which more than likely would be in the other end of NSW.”

At Tuloona, 24 sires are being joined to 90 ewes.

“We’ve got 2500 ewes there to play with.

“Certainly the Tulloona site is going to be the biggest one – that’s a massive program.”

More ewes joined to increase ewe numbers

Mr Swain said a ram would be joined with 50 or 60 ewes in a sire evaluation program.

“Joining 90 ewes is certainly the biggest we’ve ever done as an AI program.”

The increased ewe to ram ration would generate twice the number of ewe progeny, he said.

“The ewe progeny is what this project is all about obviously, taking them and joining and shearing them for the next 5 or 6 years.

“Having twice the number of ewes just makes the accuracy of the results top-notch.”

Expressions of Interest sought for new position

Mr Swain said AMSEA is still seeking Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified individuals to carry out the combined role of Project Manager and Data Manager for the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project.

The deadline for electronic submission of EOIs to [email protected] is Friday, September 25, this year and Mr Swain said AMSEA wanted the successful person on board immediately.

“One of the things we are looking for is someone who can hit the ground running.

“A person with a fair bit of knowledge and experience in this sort of project work and the genetic programs we are running,” he said.

“We would hope to have someone certainly well-installed leading up to Christmas and full-steam
ahead come the New Year for the next round of joining next year.”

For more information and to download the Position Description, click here.

The Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) is an industry organisation that oversees the process of Merino Sire Evaluation throughout Australia.


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