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MERINOSELECT boosted with $1.5 million funding
10
Jun '11
Genetic evaluation service MERINOSELECT has entered a new era with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) support for a further three years.

MERINOSELECT, with LAMBPLAN provide the national genetic evaluation service to the Australian sheep industry and this month passed a significant milestone with over five million sheep now in the database.

The world-class technology assists Merino producers to improve the rate of genetic gain within their flock by creating breeding values to help manage key production features such as worm resistance, fleece weight and breech wrinkle.

ASBVs (Australian Sheep Breeding Values) can be used as part of a breeding strategy for producers wanting to maximize the rate of genetic gain and help reach their breeding goals.

While a range of ASBVs are now available through MERINOSELECT, over the next three years additional breeding tools for structural traits and eating quality are also set to be released.

As genetic technology improves, specific genomic information from the genetic code or DNA of sheep will enhance the current measurements that develop further ASBVs.

Australian Stud Merino Breeders Association president Tom Ashby says there are significant benefits to using ASBVs in combination with more traditional methods of breeding. He believes ASBVs have helped improve traits such as bodyweight, fertility and eye muscle depth amongst Merinos, helping the breed to become a true “all rounder”.

“These new genetic tools are very useful when used in context with a balanced breeding objective. ASBVs and the new age of genomics can complement more traditional methods of breeding. I urge more Merino stud breeders to keep an open mind when assessing the merits of ASBVs. As more sheep producers use these technologies, the more commercial they will become.”

Australian Wool Innovation

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