Merino sire evaluation trial boom spans Australia

Terry Sim, December 2, 2016

amsea_mss_colourAUSTRALIAN Merino breeders will be serviced by 10 active sire evaluation sites next year – the largest number operating since the organised assessment of sires within farm flocks began in 1989.

Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association executive officer Ben Swain said the number of sites indicated that independent genetic and visual sire and progeny evaluation was in demand.

“1989 was the beginning of sire evaluation in Australia and it began at the New England site, which is still going today, and the rest of them came on board at some stage after that.”

The ten sites will include new trials in South Australia and the Monaro site in southern New South Wales. The SA trial at Keyneton Station in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges is the first SA Merino sire evaluation trial since 2003 and the first outside the former research institute model. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.

The national site list also included five trials that are part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project, including the Elders Balmoral trial in Victoria, the New England trial in New South Wales, the Merinolink site at Temora in NSW, the Macquarie trial at Trangie in NSW and Pingelly site in Western Australia.

“It just shows that the breeders are interested and there is a demand for independent evaluation of rams in particular environments,” Mr Swain said.

“That’s what sire evaluation is all about, independent robust evaluation of rams in specific environments, and to have that done independently and overseen by a site committee of breeders and service providers.”

The 10 trials next year will span Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.

AMSEA last month released the latest reports from sire evaluation trial sites around Australia and these are now available on the Merino Superior Sires website.

Last month AMSEA released the New England 2014 drop yearling and adult assessment report, the MerinoLink 2015 drop yearling and hogget assessment and the Elders Balmoral 2015 drop yearling assessment report.

Other reports expected to be released this month include the Yardstick report from Western Australia and another New England 2015 drop assessment, with carcase scanning data on yearlings.

Mr Swain said the reports will assist Merino sheep breeders to select rams for their 2017 artificial insemination programs.

“They’re basically giving other breeders a particularly detailed snapshot of those sires, on a measured and visual assessment.

“Those reports include all the measure information that you would expect to find in any genetic benchmarking system, but also a huge range of visual traits, which are important to a lot of breeders – because if they can’t see the sire they need someone else to have looked at it pretty closely.”

The sire nomination process for the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project is closed and the entrants are being finalised for the four sites joining next year, Mr Swain said. The MLP project is a partnership between AWI and AMSEA that aims to comprehensively explore lifetime relationships between wool production, carcase performance and fertility.

The latest Elders Balmoral report is an update of the previous report released on the post weaning assessment of the ewe portion of this drop and is published as part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project. More MLP information is available at Click on the links below for the latest sire evaluation reports.

New England 2014 Drop Yearling and Adult Assessment Sire Evaluation Site Report

MerinoLink 2015 Drop Yearling and Hogget Assessment Sire Evaluation Site Report

Elders Balmoral 2015 Drop Yearling Assessment Sire Evaluation Site Report

Source: AMSEA.


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