A series of brief case studies have been written focusing on successful young people in the sheep industry. To read their stories click on the links below:
Measurement holds the key
“My Dad’s favourite saying is if we can’t measure it we can’t improve it!
The availability of advancements like ASBVs and genomics tests are taking sheep breeding programs to a new level of accuracy and efficiency. But, there is certainly still a place for visual assessments.”
Exciting times for young sheep breeders
After three years working for Thomas Foods International (TFI), Jamie Heinrich has returned to the family property where he is now heavily involved in data collection and management for their stud operation.
“From a sheep genetics perspective, it’s an extremely exciting time for me to come back on to the land. With improvements being made every day to genomics and embryo transfer technology, there are certainly big opportunities going forward for young sheep producers.”
Targeting specific traits
The Price family have been advocates for LAMBPLAN since the mid-nineties, so Adam recognises the value that technological advancements like ASBVs can have in a stud breeding program.
“With the use of LAMBPLAN and now the introduction of DNA testing, we have the capacity to target specific traits for change, while holding others constant.”
Three-fold increase of genetic gain
Alistair Michael has seen first-hand how advanced genomic and reproductive technologies can combine to increase the rate of genetic gain by up to 300 per cent.
“JIVET (Juvenile in vitro embryo transfer) is delivering stud lambs three times as quickly as those from our conventionally joined flock.
The program combines visual appraisal with the latest in DNA testing technology.”
Impact of feed use efficiency on mating ewe lambs
New research from University of Western Australia honours student Caris Jones is determining how to increase sheep reproduction while decreasing food costs.
"My work with the Maternal Efficiency flock looks at improving reproduction, feed-use efficiency, lamb survival and growth in Merinos. We aim to improve the conversion of available feed into kilograms of lamb weaned per kilogram of ewe joined."
The benefit of ASBVs
“One thing I learned after coming back onto the family farm four years ago, is that information is power. The advent of ASBVs means we are much better informed to make decisions about the future of our sheep breeding programs.”
Understanding lamb market demands
The driving force for Western Australian farmer Dr Kelly Manton-Pearce to successfully apply for a 2012 Nuffield Scholarship was the need to understand the market specifications for sheepmeat that she and husband Alan were producing on their Yealering property.
“My Nuffield project was largely focussed on what drives the current and future lamb market demands. Having this insight will help the Australian lamb industry in specialising its product. Furthermore, it will help us form better relationships with those up the supply chain - where the future is for our lamb.”
Targeted treatment could reduce drench resistance
New strategies for targeted treatment to control scour worms in adult sheep are being developed in order to avoid drench resistance.
Murdoch University (WA) post-graduate student Meghan Cornelius said the approach has the potential to prolong the effectiveness of chemical products before resistance develops, and help reduce the cost and effort of drenching.
Big data delivers clearer growth picture for lambs
New research based on high-quality and large-scale data sets from the sheep industry’s Information Nucleus program will help breeders manage expectations about lamb growth rates, particularly for twins and triplets.
Data from the Sheep CRC’s research flocks has confirmed that lambs born and raised as multiples have a reduced response to increased sire PWWT (post weaning weight).
Supercharging genetic gain
New research is tackling the challenge of how sheep producers can use the combination of modern DNA-based technologies and reproductive technologies to maximise genetic gain, without increasing rates of inbreeding.
Current estimates indicate that between 18-30 per cent faster genetic gain is possible by using genomic (DNA) testing for selection.
Diet driver of lamb colour
Improving the colour stability of lamb meat through changes in diet, breeding and meat packaging could hold the key to enhancing the retail appeal of lamb to consumers.
With meat colour a key driver of a consumer’s purchasing decision, the new research findings from multi-award winning student Honor Calnan on how to maximise the stability of lamb will assist the industry to improve colour stability and thereby prolong product shelf life.
Working with innovative breeders
Before superior genomic information can be put to use by sheep breeders in the paddock, complex DNA information must first be processed by a highly skilled team in the laboratory.