28 October 2015
Nominations are being accepted by the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) for the 2016 joinings of the AWI / AMSEA Merino Lifetime Productivity Project.
Have you ever wondered why some animals consistently perform year in and year out whilst others fade with time?
Are there any factors that might help us to better predict superior lifetime performance at young ages? With the growing influence of the lamb industry on Merinos, what’s the impact of selecting for growth, reproduction and carcase traits on lifetime wool productivity? Do animals selected on breeding values at a young age have better lifetime productivity?
An exciting opportunity exists for ram breeders to be part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project that aims to answer these and many more industry questions. A partnership between AWI and AMSEA will see sires entered into four standard sire evaluation sites and all their ewe progeny retained for annual joining, classing and lifetime assessment.
Would you like to nominate your top sires, good all-rounders, trait or index leaders, good doers or show winners in this important trial?
The sites will operate like a standard sire evaluation site – following the rigorous and independently assessed measured and visual assessment protocols. At the conclusion of the standard sire evaluation (generally once progeny are between 18 and 24 months of age) AWI will support the ongoing measurement and visual classing of all ewe progeny through 4-5 joinings and annual shearings. The number of ewes joined to each sire will be increased to 90 ewes to ensure that there will be sufficient ewe progeny numbers throughout life.
Entrants at these sites will receive a full range of results; extensive professional classer assessed performance and within site breeding values as well as ASBVs. Regular field days will be held at sites for ram owners to inspect their sire’s progeny, receive updates on the progress of the project and network with fellow Merino producers.
The broader aims of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project are to:
- Validate the current breeding value technology across sheep types and environments
- Where necessary, provide the evidence and data such that current systems can be enhanced to more accurately predict lifetime productivity.
- Provide the industry in a commercial environment the cost benefit relationship of measuring multiple adult traits throughout the lifetime of an animal.
- Provide a substantial amount of reproduction records to the MERINOSELECT database, allowing the industry to more accurately assess the relationship between all the components that make up lifetime productivity.
- Provide a common focus for a wide range of ram breeders with differing breeding philosophies.
We are looking for a range of sires to join in 2016 – and are taking nominations now.
Sire entry will incur standard sire evaluation entry costs which range between $2500 - $3000 depending on the site.
- Follow this link to the Merino Superior Sires website to download the Nomination Form and return by 20th of November
- If selected – have 92 doses of semen available (the project will purchase at $10 per dose semen beyond that which is normally be required for a standard sire evaluation trial)
Need more information?
- Please pick up the phone and call either Ben Swain, AMSEA Executive Officer on 0427 100 542 or, Anne Ramsay, Merino Lifetime Project Manager on 0400 368 448.
05 October 2015
Merino ram sales have exceeded many expectations this spring selling season with most on property ram sales lifting on last year. Sale highlights include of a top of $81,000 at the annual Willandra ram sale, a sell out at the Yarrawonga sale and the Adelaide ram sale averaging $8,997 with a top of $38,000 for a Moorundie ram, followed closely by White River at $37,000. At the Adelaide sale 78 rams sold out of 89 offered. And it is not only the rams that are popular, young Merino ewes sold to a top of $235 last week at the Hay, NSW sale with other lines also hitting the $200 mark.
For the first time in Australian history, and with figures now compiled for 2014, Australian Poll Merino rams outsold Merino rams. The “all purpose” flexibility of the Australian Merino is now being better understood and showing the benefits of quality and quantity of wool fibre with meat characteristics that rival some meat breeds, particularly in traits such as eye muscle depth. With greater emphasis on fat traits and fertility the female progeny offer an improved maternal /replacement ewe for the flock.
The challenge is to ensure that the unique Australian Merino fleece qualities and quantity of cut are not compromised with the efforts to provide an all-rounder for the sheep industry. Some of the earlier efforts at increasing the poll merino genetics proved this to be a challenge which has been met with strong measures to keep improving this fleece performance.
Ross Wells with Will008xGP - Photo taken at Sheepvention 2015 by Marion Gibbins