Selection tool widely used

February 13, 2018

Studs . . . The use of ASBVs is now becoming the norm in the Merino industry.

Almost half of all Merino rams are now sold by studs that are members of MERINOSELECT and utilise the Australian Sheep Breeding Values, a report has found.

Research by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) reveals that studs in MERINOSELECT now provide about half of the Merino rams used by commercial producers and more than 80 per cent of the semen used for ram breeding.

The previous assessment in 2014 found that only 18 per cent of Merino rams were produced by studs using MERINOSELECT.

Sheep CRC chief executive Professor James Rowe analysed a range of industry data sources in the Growing Impact of MERINOSELECT report.

‘‘The data shows that use of ASBVs is now becoming the norm in the Merino industry, with the number of sheep registered with MERINOSELECT having doubled since 2011, and this trend has been accelerated by the availability of DNA testing and the fast growing demand for poll rams,’’ Prof Rowe said.

‘‘In reviewing genetic technology uptake in the Merino sector, the trend lines show strong growth in the number of studs using MERINOSELECT and increasing sales of rams and semen by studs that are members of MERINOSELECT.

‘‘The availability of DNA tests also appears to have accelerated the swing towards poll rams among Merino breeders and their clients.’’

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