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AWEX EMI 1142 -
Micron 17 1690 -
Micron 18 1522 +13
Micron 19 1418 +10
Micron 20 1352 +19
Micron 21 1306 +4
Micron 22 1290 +8
Micron 23 1224n -10
Micron 25 696 +8
Micron 26 509 -10
Micron 28 352 -
Micron 30 322 -8
Micron 32 292 +2
MCar 762 +2

Breeding for improved Merino feet

Genetics of Foot health – calling for interested Merino ram breeders to participate in a new three-year research, development and extension project.

The project has three activities where woolgrowers can nominate to be involved:

Activity 1 - enter a semen sire into the central progeny test where progeny will be evaluated for foot traits including their susceptibility to ovine interdigital dermatitis (OID) and footrot (30 AI sires per year are being sought for 2024 and 2025).

Activity 2 - contribute eight cull rams per sire that will be challenged to OID and footrot at a research site in Victoria.

Activity 3 - 30 diverse ram breeders are being sought to take part in on-farm assessments of their 2023-, 2024- and 2025-drop progeny including, foot structure and shape, interdigital dermatitis and foot abscess.

The project aims to (i) generate heritability estimates for foot structure, footrot, ovine interdigital dermatitis and foot abscess, (ii) estimate the phenotypic and genetic correlations between all foot health and structure traits, and (iii) release a research breeding value and eventually an ASBV for resistance to footrot for Australian Merino sheep. Ultimately the project aims to develop guidelines for the Australian Merino industry on selection strategies to improve the foot health of sheep.

More information: Refer to the article in the September 2023 edition of Beyond the Bale. For further information and expressions of interest, please contact Dr Amy Lockwood of neXtgen Agri International via or Jarryd Krog, Murdoch University via


This article appeared in the December 2023 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.

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