Breeding values hold key to the future

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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Researcher Tom Granleese was in Dowerin to assist producers with Australian Sheep Breeding Values.
Camera IconResearcher Tom Granleese was in Dowerin to assist producers with Australian Sheep Breeding Values. Credit: Countryman, Bob Garnant

Producers were enlightened on the use of Australian sheep breeding values at last week’s Dowerin Machinery field days.

University of New England researcher Tom Granleese was on hand at the Bayer Avenge Ram Shed to answer any questions from visitors about the subject.

Dr Granleese has researched case studies where the most efficient and cost-effective breeding programs can be designed.

“I use many aspects of breeding programs which include pedigree, phenotyping, genotyping, reproductive technologies and their respective costs,” he said.

“There are numerous individual case studies which I can use to help breeders achieve improved accuracies by going through a simple-step process.”

Dr Granleese showed producers how to use the Merino Select Sheep Genetics website to find the sheep breeding values of a particular breeder.

“The next step in genomics is fully sequencing sheep, all 23 million genes,” he said. “In key industry sires, this will increase genomic prediction accuracies at faster rates of genetic gain.”

Ejanding Merino and Poll Merino stud principal Brett Jones, who displayed rams at the ram shed, said he was selecting for eating quality traits in a balanced overall ASBV approach to genetic gain, with his entire 180-ram sale catalogue listed on the Sheep Genetics website.

The main three top eating- quality traits for the stud show were a ram with the highest IMF figure of +0.89, while lean meat yield topped out at +1.75 for another ram and a third ram had the best shear force rating of -2.8, the higher negative number for SF representing the better eating quality.

“Using ASBVs is all about benchmarking sires and using the information to improve breeding programs,” Mr Jones said.

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