Proof of benefits from genetic selection


A full copy of the document 'Using ASBVs - What's in it for me?' (A review of the literature on the use of genetic technologies for selection of dams and sires in sheep breeding programs) is available for download below.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) has established a wide range of initiatives that are facilitating greater uptake of sheep genetic technologies.  This publication is one such initiative.  Its objective is to collate the results from previous research projects and producer demonstrations to build a body of evidence that will allow industry to consider the adoption of breeding values (in particular, Australian Sheep Breeding Values) and associated technologies.  This reference will be extended as more information becomes available.

The projects summarised in this review were identified by the collective knowledge of the Sheep CRC Genetics Training Initiative Steering Committee.  Industry experts located in all states of Australia (see list of acknowledgements) were consulted to identify relevant material.  In addition the Livestock Library ( and the MLA Producer Initiated Research and Demonstration (PIRD) database have been searched to identify further areas of work.

The benefits of using breeding values and other technologies are often put forward but the proof to support these statements has been scattered far and wide.  This document is a chance to collate all the material, developed over the years, that demonstrates the outcomes from using these technologies.  The review ensures that this very valuable material is not lost and that its collective impact can be appreciated.

This review is comprehensive with projects and demonstrations included regardless of their findings.  Overwhelmingly the combined outcomes from the work reviewed offer a vast and compelling story of considerable benefit from the use of breeding values and associated technologies.   

A number of projects summarised in this review highlight the genetic difference between individual sheep or bloodlines.  These projects have been included to describe the large genetic variation that exists in the sheep industries.  Tools that enable the exploitation of these genetic differences have great value when striving to maximise genetic progress and the future viability of sheep enterprises.

The scope of this review was to collate evidence rather than delve into interpretation of results.  As such, much of the content has been reproduced from cited references.  Collating the evidence has been the highest priority for this work and as a result the format for the material is largely as provided in the references cited.

This review clearly establishes that breeding values and associated technologies deliver genetic progress to the sheep industries.  They are a vital element for sheep enterprises aiming to maximise productivity and profitability.

If you know of any projects/work that could also be included in this document please email

DownloadUsing ASBVs - What's in it for me? (6.6 MB)

Practical Wisdom Notes / Fact Sheets

PW4.1 New Opportunities in Genetics and Genomics

Products & Training Resources

ASBV Pocket Guide

Australian Sheep Breeding Values - A guide for ram buyers

Marketing your sheep with genetic data

Reports, Articles and Presentations

Getting Started with Sheep Genetics

Sheep CRC Genomics Breakfast Workshop - LambEx 2012

News Releases

Breeding for flystrike resistance to be made easier
Genetic research into the heritability of flystrike susceptibility in sheep, and its expression in different operating environments, is set to be incorporated into new tools to assist breeders make more informed selection and flock management decisions. Tracie Bird-Gardiner, from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, has spent the last four years collecting and analysing data from fly-struck sheep in the industry’s... Click Here To Read Full Article »
Commercial Merino producers - opportunity for DNA pilot project
Commercial Merino producers have the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of DNA research by participating in a pilot trial of the new Flock Profiling Test from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC). The Sheep CRC will provide support for up to 100 Merino producers to define the genetic merit of their flocks. The profiling test involves randomly sampling 20 young ewes for DNA testing. Click Here To Read Full Article »
Understanding why farmers are pressing the app buttons
Despite the proliferation of new technology in agriculture, very little is known about the effectiveness of these new tools in improving primary productivity and adoption of new practices. A new research project from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) will evaluate the use of smartphone apps in the industry and producer attitudes towards these tools, in order to ensure future tools and... Click Here To Read Full Article »
Ram team records unlock the secrets to better breeding
Keeping accurate records of his ram teams has allowed South Gippsland second-cross lamb producer Paul O’Sullivan to benchmark his business against industry averages and to refine his genetic selections to take flock productivity to the next level. Mr O’Sullivan was impressed by the benchmarking capabilities of the new RamSelect Plus app when it was launched at LambEx by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry... Click Here To Read Full Article »
Sheep breeders rush to RamSelect Plus
Sheep breeders are embracing RamSelect Plus in droves, with close to 4000 rams from 60 different studs listed on the site since the start of July. And there are already over twice the number of registered users than there were at the end of the 2015 ram-selling season. Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said the early-season figures were a strong endorsement of the need for easy-to-use applications that provide personalised... Click Here To Read Full Article »
UNE app development team leads the way for the sheep industry
The team behind the popular web-based app RamSelect Plus is already turning its attention to finding new solutions to the data challenges facing the sheep industry. The next project on the cards for the University of New England (UNE) Agile App team is to develop an early intervention sheep management app for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) so that producers can ensure all animals in... Click Here To Read Full Article »
RamSelect Plus adds new precision to genetic selection
Producers at this week’s LambEx event have early access to RamSelect Plus, the latest version of the popular sheep genetic selection app. Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) CEO James Rowe said RamSelect Plus features more precise genetic selection tools, as well as new benchmarking and ram team management tools. Click Here To Read Full Article »
DNA Flock Profiling delivers sheep breeding insights at Europambela
New England Merino breeder Tony Overton has a much clearer picture of the genetic make-up of his superfine Merino flock and the areas which need attention following trials of a new application for the 15k DNA test designed specifically for commercial producers. Mr Overton, who manages 9000 ewes at ‘Europambela’ in the Walcha district, was a participant in early field trials of the DNA Flock Profiler, being developed by... Click Here To Read Full Article »
Got ram team records? Sheep CRC needs you!
Sheep breeders with comprehensive records of their ram teams are being sought by the Sheep CRC as it enters the final stages of development of the latest RamSelect app. The next version of RamSelect will feature enhanced ram searching capabilities to align with estimates of the current genetic merit of a commercial ewe flock, either based on records of the rams used during the previous 10 years, or using data obtained through... Click Here To Read Full Article »
Sheep DNA tests now quicker and easier
DNA testing of sheep is now quicker and easier than ever, following moves by the Sheep CRC to simplify the process for breeders. From July 1 producers will be able to purchase a stock of blood cards to keep on hand on their properties, allowing them to take blood samples at their convenience, such as at lamb marking, and only submit those they are most interested in for analysis at a later date when they consider their... Click Here To Read Full Article »
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