Setting Breeding Objectives

A breeding objective describes animals you would like to breed that are appropriate for your production system and market.

By setting a breeding objective—as part of your overall business planning and management—you can identify your genetic priorities and plan the genetic selection methods that will allow you to reach this goal.

Your breeding objective should target characteristics (traits) that:

  • can continue to be improved within the limitations of your environment and production system;
  • deliver wool, meat or sheep products to suit a particular market;
  • contributes the most to your profit;
  • are heritable and have sufficient genetic variation to enable progress to be made.


Also note that the more traits that you include, the progress for each will be slower, however the progress against the objective can still be high.

Breeding objectives generally include the characteristics of importance, the level they should achieve and the time frame in which this will be achieved. for example:

Within 5 years, 80% of ewes at first shearing (11 months) will have:

  • Fibre Diameter: between 17.5 and 19.5 microns
  • Greasy Fleece weight: more than 4.5 kg
  • Body weight: more than 40 kg
  • Breech Wrinkle: 1 or 2 score
  • Wool Colour: 1 or 2 score

 

A common fault when setting breeding objectives is to have no timelines or levels to achieve. For example: White, bright, fine wool, with heavy fleece weights on large-framed sheep that are resistant to flystrike.

By adding levels you can more easily monitor your progress towards the objective and know where changes need to occur in your selection to help achieve your goal.

For Merino breeders focused on wool, fibre diameter, fleece weight and body weight have the most influence on profit.

For prime lamb producers, focus on weaning and postweaning weight, fat score and reproduction rate (number of lambs weaned per ewe joined).

Choose from the tabs below to find more detailed information.


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

Tech-savvy students drive Farrer High to the top of RamSelect
Listing their catalogue via the RamSelect Plus app has showcased the value of early adoption of new breeding technologies and opened new markets for the students at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School. Based in Tamworth NSW, the school’s agriculture subject offering includes a Year 9 and 10 ‘animal management course’, in which students take on the tasks associated with running the Farrer White Suffolk stud. Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/techsavvy-students-drive-farrer-high-to-the-top-of-ramselect-05-12-2016.php
DNA Flock Profiler responds to producers needs
Breaking down a perception-driven market with objective genetic data was the impetus for sheep breeders Andrew and Barbara Read to conceive an idea which has now been realised in the form of the Sheep CRC’s DNA Flock Profile test. The Reads, from "Oak Hills", Nangus, NSW, first approached Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe two years ago at a producer field day with the idea of developing a DNA test to profile the genetic... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/dna-flock-profiler-responds-to-producers-needs-15-11-2016.php
Sheep researchers star on international stage
The next generation of red meat researchers are being inspired by the success of the sheep industry’s stable of young scientists who are starring on the world stage. Five Murdoch University scientists were recently chosen to deliver oral presentations, all linked to research they are conducting through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), at the recent International Symposium on Energy... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/sheep-researchers-star-on-international-stage-04-11-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/breeding-for-flystrike-resistance-to-be-made-easier-24-10-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/commercial-merino-producers--opportunity-for-dna-pilot-project-10-10-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/understanding-why-farmers-are-pressing-the-app-buttons-22-09-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/ram-team-records-unlock-the-secrets-to-better-breeding-16-09-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/sheep-breeders-rush-to-ramselect-plus-29-08-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/une-app-development-team-leads-the-way-for-the-sheep-industry-22-08-2016.php
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 » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/ramselect-plus-adds-new-precision-to-genetic-selection-10-08-2016.php
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