Aussie milestone in sheep genetics
19th May 09, 2:38pm
The NZ sheep industry is surveying where to go next in sheep genetics( see yesterdays story) whilst the Aussies are miles ahead. Is this a wakeup call for sheep breeders in NZ?? Australian sheep genetics has reached a milestone with 1.5 million terminal sires registered on Lambplan "“ the world's largest genetic evaluation service for sheep "“ and the project is paying dividends to Aussie farmers reports Rural News.The milestone marks a 25% increase "“ or 500,000 animals "“ since August 2004, with the total number of animals included in the Lambplan database now 4.3m head with records.The Sheep Genetics programme "“ jointly funded between Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) "“ has 700 subscribers representing a large proportion of the Australian seedstock industry. Reaching the 1.5m mark is a measure of the integrity of the system according to MLA Lamb and Sheepmeat manager Dr Alex Ball."˜The impact of Lambplan on the lamb production sector is evidenced by the strong correlation between the growth in exports of Australian lamb, the growth in average carcase weights and the growth in the adoption of Lambplan.'Since the introduction of the Carcase Plus index, breeders have been able to increase early growth and muscling resulting in higher average carcase weights with better muscling. Carcase weights are increasing by 0.25kg per year with almost no change in fat and bone as a result of genetic changes facilitated by Lambplan and significantly higher prime lamb productivity growth "“ about 5% per year "“ compared with the overall sheep population.