New sire evaluation program

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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With good seasonal conditions across most of WA, particularly in the Wheatbelt, there was a steady flow of visitors to the livestock displays at this year's Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

Livestock co-ordinator Brett Jones said more than 30 studs were on display across two venues: the Bayer Avenge Ram Shed and Milne Marquee.

"It was heartening to hear good seasonal reports from farmers who were keen to talk about sheep and wool production," he said.

Mr Jones also revealed at the event that a new sire evaluation program, to be conducted by Muresk Institute, would take place during the 2016/17 season, with 12 sires represented.

"We are planning to shear the progeny of the rams, out of Billandri blood ewes, at the 2017 Dowerin Field Days," he said.

Muresk Institute general manager Prue Jenkins said students would be involved in several facets of the sire evaluation program.

"It will provide excellent educational and job opportunities for students," she said.

"Muresk has the latest sheep handling technology and would be quite capable to measure and record the appropriate data.

"We are excited about the program and have entered into an initial five-year agreement with the Stud Merino Breeders' Association of WA with an option to roll over."

Mr Jones said he already had eight rams signed up for the program which would be mostly funded by participants.

SMBAWA president Steven Bolt said there was renewed enthusiasm with the announcement of the new initiative.

"Farmers were taking their time to go through the ram shed looking how to improve wool production," he said.

Bayer Avenge area manager David Baron said visitors showed plenty of passion and confidence about the sheep industry.

"Sheep producers were interested in talking about Bayer's mulesing pain relief product Tri-Solfen," he said.

The Sheep's Back co-ordinator Edward Riggall said he signed up 15 farmers who were looking to improve their networking.

"We now have over 1300 farmer members," he said.

Quentin Davies, of Cardiff Pastoral, Yorkrakine, was reeling over his dual win in the Merino Lamb Muster Carcase Competition announced last week. "I put it down to producing big and productive Wheatbelt Merinos," he said.

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