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Merino Lifetime Productivity

Latest Project Results

The first report from the 2016 drop at the Pingelly MLP project site has been released (Post Weaning report), which complements reports already released by the Elders Balmoral site for its 2015 drop (Post Weaning and Adult reports). The Elders Balmoral site has also released reports from their 2016 drop (Post Weaning) and MerinoLink has released its first report from the site featuring the 2016 drop Yearling assessment.

The reports can be downloaded here.

 

Upcoming Field Day Dates

   Site  Date  Location  Contact
   MerinoLink  27 October 2017   Temora, NSW   Sally Martin: 0400 782 477
   Balmoral  16 February 2018  Harrow, Vic  Tom Silcock: 0419 882 239
   MerinoLink  16 March 2018  Temora, NSW  Sally Martin: 0400 782 477
   Pingelly  28 March 2018  Pingelly, WA  Bron Clarke: 0418 957 293

 

About the MLP Project

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) have teamed up to deliver the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project (MLP). The project offers a unique and exciting opportunity to evaluate lifetime Merino productivity including the relationship between lamb and wool production, how to best select for lifetime productivity and the role that genetics plays in generating lifetime returns.

Five independent sites located across Australia will be involved in collecting and recording this data. The sites will operate like standard sire evaluation sites – following the rigorous and independently assessed measured and visual assessment protocols.

In total 167 sires will be joined to 90 ewes to generate the F1 ewe progeny that will form the basis of the project. At the conclusion of the standard sire evaluation (generally once progeny are between 18-24 months of age), AWI will support the ongoing measurement and visual classing of all F1 ewe progeny through 4-5 joinings (capturing reproduction records) and annual shearings.

The sites involved in the project will be located in diverse environments and vary in sheep type, lambing dates, seasonal challenges and shearing dates.

The first site “Elders Balmoral” at Harrow, Vic, joined in 2015 and 2016 with 24 sires entered in each year. In 2016 two new sites joined the project with 13 sires joined at MerinoLink, Temora (NSW) and 15 sires joined at Pingelly in Western Australia. A fourth site “New England” located near Armidale (NSW) joined 15 sires in 2017 and at the fifth site “Macquarie”, near Trangie (NSW) joined 16 sires in December 2016. All sites join for a maximum of two years.

The project has been designed to answer many questions frequently discussed in the Merino industry. What is the impact of selecting for growth, reproduction and carcase traits on Merino lifetime productivity? Why do some animals consistently perform year in and year out whilst others fade with time? Are there any factors that might help us to better predict superior lifetime performance? And can animals selected at very young ages have superior lifetime productivity?

The broader aims of the project are to:

  • Where necessary, provide the evidence and data that the current systems can be enhanced to more accurately predict lifetime productivity.
  • Demonstrate to the industry in a commercial environment the cost benefit relationship of measuring multiple adult traits throughout the lifetime of an animal.
  • Validate the current breeding value technology across sheep types and environments.
  • Provide a substantial amount of reproduction records to the MERINOSELECT database, allowing the industry to more accurately assess the relationship between all the components that make up lifetime productivity.
  • Provide a common focus for a wide range of ram breeders with differing breeding philosophies.

The AWI funded project is a $7 million (plus $4 million in support from project partners), 10-year partnership between AWI, AMSEA, nominating stud breeders and the site hosts. An industry steering committee representing AWI, AMSEA, breeders, classers and service providers meets regularly to discuss trial results and future research to maximise what can be achieved by the biggest genetic trial ever conducted.

Get to know the sites

Site Rainfall (mm) Ewe Base Sires Joined or Joining
Sire Chair
Site Manager
Elders Balmoral 470mm winter rainfall 17.2um, fine wool base, selecting for growth, fertility and wool cut 24 sires
2015 & 2016
Tom Silcock
M: 0419 882 239
(also Chair)
MerinoLink 500 slight winter dominant 18um, previous sire evaluation progeny, and studs with ASBVs 13 sires
2016 & 2017
Richard Keniry
M: 0427 878 541
Sally Martin
M: 0400 782 477
Pingelly 440 winter rainfall 19.5um, meaty Merino ewes 15 sires
2016 & 2017
Brett Jones
M: 0428 323 012
Bron Clarke
M: 0418 957 293
New England 800+ summer dominant 17um, ultra-fine flock 15 sires
2017 & 2018
Duncan Lance
M: 0447 297 135
Jen Smith
Ph: 02 6776 1381
Macquarie 500 evenly distributed Even split of Centre Plus Poll Merino and Towalba Merino bloodlines 16 sires
Dec 2016 & 2017
Matthew Coddington
M: 0428 635 386
Kathryn Warburton
M: 0429 943 708

 

Location of MLP SitesLocation of MLP Sites

Annual data collection

The following table captures the annual data collected on all 5,000 F1 ewes in the project.

Wool Measurements

Fleece weight, yield, fibre diameter, fibre diameter SD, fibre diameter CV, staple strength, staple length, comfort factor and curvature

Growth and Carcass

Live weight, eye muscle and fat depth

Disease and Welfare

Worm egg count, faecal moisture, dag, urine stain, breech cover, crutch cover, breech wrinkle

Visual Wool Traits

Fleece rot, wool colour, wool character, dust penetration, staple weathering, staple structure, fibre pigmentation, non-fibre pigmentation, recessive black and random spot

Visual Conformation Traits

Face cover, jaw, legs/feet, shoulder/back, body wrinkle

Classing

Two classings with independent sheep classers

Joining, Pregnancy, Lambing

Sire, dam, pregnancy scanning, number of lambs weaned, live weight and condition score (at pre-joining, pregnancy scanning, pre-lambing, weaning)

MLP Sires

The sire listings for the project are featured below.

Linkage plays a vital role in the MLP project allowing results to be compared across sites and years within the project. In each year of joining two sires are selected for use across all the sites. These sires are specifically selected to meet project objectives.

Broadly the sire selection criteria involved is:

  • Industry representative: Involvement of horn/poll, different types, rams with and without Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). A maximum of one ram from each breeder, except where rams were specifically selected for linkage.
  • Genetically representative: Selected from the four main genetic performance groups (clusters) in the MERINOSELECT database. The first cluster contains animals with an emphasis on increased fat and muscle and reduced worm egg counts, and often have slightly lower wool performance. The second cluster are high performers across industry indexes, the third are primarily wool focussed and the fourth involves animals that fall outside the original three groups. Selection was balanced between the first of the three groups with some representation from the fourth.
  • Fleece value: Predicted to maintain, increase or decrease fleece value over time.
  • Performance range: High and low performance for traits based on percentile band tables.
  • A balance of young (progeny yet to be evaluated) and older rams.
  • Impact rams: Significant show performance or have been highly used in industry (with or the without ASBVs).


MLP Sires - 2017

Macquarie 2017 MerinoLink 2017 Pingelly 2017 New England 2017
Centre Plus Poll, 707115 *
Collinsville, 130545 (Apollo)
Darriwell, 130941 *
GRASS, P47 L
Gullen Gamble, 120018
Hazeldean, 13.4936
Kerin Poll, 151911
Moojepin, 120652 *
Mumblebone, 151367
Roseville Park, 132933
Towalba, 5.4
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
Wanganella, W130816
West Plains Poll (Mercenary), 110004 *
Wilgunya, 121224
Willandra, Des 030
Bundilla, 140055
Centre Plus Poll, 407185
Collinsville,130545 (Apollo)*
DT Kenilworth, WH13017
Greendale, 140141
Lachlan, 305
Leahcim, 132624
Tallawong, 150280
Toland Poll, 151058
Trefusis, 150282
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
Wallaloo Park, WP 422
West Plains Poll (Mercenary), 110004 *
Anderson, 140474
Barloo Poll, (Eureka) 140027
Billandri, 151280
Coromandel, 130660
Cranmore, 13.10
Edale, 10Z266K
Ingle, 150087
Mianelup Poll, M00540 (Expo)
Moojepin, 120652
Moorundi, NE73
Neearra Poll, 110264
Range View, 5-680
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
West Plains Poll (Mercenary), 110004 *
Woodyarrup Merino, 150329
Connemarra, 140257
Conrayn, MUB123
Cressbrook, 140055
Egelabra, HEK 1.36
Grindon, 150017
Karori, 140188
Miramoona, 140012
Mirani, 21.2
Moorundi, NE73 *
Nerstane, 150073
Petali Poll, 150697
Trefusis, 150282 *
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
West Plains Poll (Mercenary), 110004 *L
Yalgoo, 150313

L = Funded links to sire evaluation, * = between MLP site linkage

MLP Sires - 2015 & 2016

Elders Balmoral 2015 Elders Balmoral 2016 Pingelly 2016 MerinoLink 2016
Billandri Poll, 130087
Bogo, 111424
Bundaleer Poll, 13V741
Bundilla, 111265
Centre Plus Poll, 207316
Darriwell, 130941
Glenpaen, 120042
Greenfields Poll, 130599
Hazeldean, 11.43
Kurra Wirra, SR5681
Leahcim Poll, 090918 L*
Leahcim Poll, 123153
Merinotech WA Poll, 100081
Mokanger, 120092
Moojepin, 100248 L
Mumblebone, 130389
Nareeb Nareeb, 130380
Nerstane, 130467
One Oak No.2, R56 L*
Roseville Park, 140019
The Mountain Dam, ESA004
Tuckwood Poll, 121021
Yalgoo, 120043
Yiddinga, 130374
Centre Plus Poll, 707115
Glen Holme, 141077 (Dohne)
Grass, R4
Greendale, 120012 *
Greenfields Poll, 140345
Greenland, 2.366
Hannaton Poll, 120046
Hazeldean, 11.3542
Kiandra Poll, 140757
Kooringal, 130519
Kurra Wirra, SB5585
Leahcim Poll, 090918 *
Melrose, 12UGB060
Mumblebone, 140026
Nerstane, 100919
One Oak No.2, R56 *
Stockman Poll (Stilts), 090853
Terrick West Poll, 122220
The Mountain Dam, ESA004*
Trefusis, 110482
Tuckwood Poll, 131026
Wallaloo Park Poll, 120912
Woodyarrup, 120175
Yiddinga, 141989
Billandri Poll, 130641
Boolading Blues Poll, 120708
Claypans Poll, 130597
East Mundulla (Jonty), 090137
Ejanding Poll, 145096
Haddon Rig, 2.715
Hazeldean, 11.43 *
Ingle Poll, 130387
Leahcim Poll, 090918 *
Merinotech WA Poll, 100081*
Moojepin, 140377
One Oak No.2, R56 *
Rhamily Poll (Benny), 110330
West Plains Poll (Mercenary), 110004
Wyambeh Poll, 140141
Bella Lana, 130296
Boyanga, 145112
Glen Donald, 120014
Greendale, 120012
Leahcim Poll, 090918 *
One Oak No.2, R56 *
Pastora Poll, 082893
Poll Boonoke, PB2020
Pooginook Poll, 140632
Roseville Park, 140611
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477
Wattle Dale, 140754
Wurrook, 130149

L = Funded links to sire evaluation, * = between MLP site linkage

Who’s behind the MLP project

The project is managed by AMSEA on behalf of AWI. The project would not be possible without the support and collaboration of a large number of individuals and organisations contributing on a voluntary basis at each of the sites.

Site Contact Details

Site Site Chair Site Manager
Elders Balmoral
MerinoLink
Pingelly
New England
Macquarie
Tom Silcock: 0419 882 239
Richard Keniry: 0427 878 541
Brett Jones: 0428 323 012
Duncan Lance: 0447 297 135
Matthew Coddington: 0428 635 386
Tom Silcock: 0419 882 239
Sally Martin: 0400 782 477
Bron Clarke: 0418 957 293
Jen Smith: 02 6776 1381
Kathryn Warburton: 0429 943 708

Project Contact Details

Name Role Contact Email
Anne Ramsay
Ben Swain
Geoff Lindon
MLP Project Manager
AMSEA Executive Officer
Program Manager Genetics and Animal Welfare Advocacy
0400 368 448
0427 100 542
0427 572 228
stenhouseconsulting@bigpond.com
ben_swain@bigpond.com
geoff.lindon@wool.com

The Merino Lifetime Productivity Project is being undertaken in partnership between the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association Incorporated (AMSEA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). AMSEA and AWI would like to acknowledge those entities who also contribute funding, namely Woolgrowers through sire evaluation entry fees, site committee in-kind contributions, and sponsors of AMSEA. A special acknowledgement is also made to the Australian Government who supports research, development and marketing of Australian wool.

Further Information