Commercial 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 DNA profiling.
In using the historical ram-team data, RamSelect will calculate the ‘average’ of the Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) accumulating in the flock over multiple generations, while a new DNA Flock Profiling test will calculate an average set of ASBVs for 20 of the youngest ewes sampled at random.
“It is important that both the ram-team and DNA Flock Profiling approaches give similar results and the CRC needs help from sheep producers to calibrate data from the two methods,” chief executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), James Rowe, said.
“We are looking for commercial Merino producers who have accurate records of the rams that they have used over the last 5-10 years, including their Sheep Genetics unique ID together with details of the years that each ram was used.”
In return for producer’s ram team data, the Sheep CRC staff will analyse the information and provide them with estimated average flock ASBVs.
“From among those who submit ram team data we will select a group of 30 producers, representing a diverse range of bloodlines and breed types, who will also receive free follow up DNA profile testing,” Prof. Rowe said.
“For those producers selected for DNA Flock Profiling the CRC will send out blood cards for sampling 20 young ewes and will also contribute $500 to the cost of collecting the samples.”
Prof. Rowe said determining flock average ASBVs would be a very valuable tool for sheep producers when using RamSelect.com.au to identify rams which will help progression towards their breeding objective.
“By better understanding the current genetic merit of their flock, producers will be better able to buy rams which help them attain their specific breeding objectives, as well as determine the impact that different rams will have on future production characteristics of the flock,” he said.
Developed by the Sheep CRC in conjunction with Telstra and NSW DPI, the popular web-based app RamSelect.com.au streamlines the use of ASBVs so that producers can quickly and easily identify the right genetics for their flock using objective data from Sheep Genetics’ MERINOSELECT, LAMBPLAN and DOHNE databases.
The upgraded RamSelect.com.au will be launched at LambEx in August, with new features including benchmarking tools that allow breeders to compare their ram selections to the national averages and track the impact of ram teams on their flock.
Commercial producers with the appropriate data on the rams that they have used in recent years, and who are interested in participating, are asked to email their data as an Excel file to Tom Granleese at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666