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Merino Lifetime Productivity

Upcoming field days

MLP MerinoLink Field Day, Temora NSW – Friday 15 March, 2019 – for more details contact the site manager Sally Martin on 0400 782 477. Download the Save the Date flyer here.

Latest Project Results

The MLP project currently generates site results in two formats; i) a standard AMSEA Site Report which is produced after each sire evaluation assessment, and ii) a new MLP report. 

The MLP report includes sire results packaged three ways a) as raw data, b) adjusted sire means and c) flock breeding values and indexes.  It also contains available reproduction records and additional classing results.

Both versions of these reports (AMSEA Site Reports and MLP Reports) can be found here.

About the MLP Project

 

 

A copy of the MLP brochure can be found here.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) have teamed up with five sire evaluation sites to deliver the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project (MLP) 2015-25. The project is designed to capture lifetime data across diverse environments and Merino types to help better understand and deliver Merino ewe lifetime performance outcomes for the Australian Merino industry.

The AWI funded project is a $7 million (plus $5 million in support from project partners), 10-year partnership between AWI, AMSEA, nominating stud breeders and the site hosts. The collaborative effort will generate a unique Merino dataset that can be analysed to better understand how current selection approaches using visual selection along with 1) Raw Data, 2) Sire Adjusted Means, 3) Within Site and Project Breeding Values and 4) Australian Sheep Breeding Values (with and without genomic information), best predict the lifetime performance of the Merino ewe and how breeding strategies might be enhanced to deliver better productivity improvements to industry in the future.

The project sire evaluation sites are located across Australia in diverse climates with genetically diverse ewe bases; Pingelly (Western Australia), Harrow (Victoria), Temora (New South Wales), Trangie (New South Wales) and Armidale (New South Wales).

Over the life of the project, 135 industry representative sires will each be joined by artificial insemination to 90 ewes in order to generate 5,000 F1 ewes. The repeat use of sires across sites and years will ensure sufficient linkage to allow data to be analysed within each site, across sites and in combination with other industry databases such as MERINOSELECT.

The F1 ewes will be extensively assessed both visually and objectively for 5 to 6 years following an extensive annual recording program. Culling will be for welfare purposes only. DNA will be used to allocate pedigree and to undertake genomic testing. From approximately 18 months of age, every year the F1 ewes will be joined to a syndicate of Merino sires and fertility records collected. The resulting F2 progeny will leave the project following the collection of DNA and a weaning weight.

The number of records generated from the project will enable extensive genetic and economic analysis for the benefit of the Merino industry and will answer many of industry’s questions, including:

  • Is it possible to select for ewe lifetime productivity at a young age using breeding values, genomically enhanced breeding values, visual classing or a combination of industry supported approaches?
  • What is the impact of selecting ewes for wool, growth, reproduction, welfare and carcase traits on the productivity of Merinos over their lifetime?
  • Why do some ewes consistently perform year in and year out, while others fade with time?
  • Are there new ways to better predict superior ewe lifetime performance?

Some of 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.

To keep up to date look for regular articles in Beyond the Bale and subscribe to the AMSEA mailing list by clicking here.

The Sites

The five independent sire evaluation sites located across Australia will collect and record the project data by following the rigorous and independently assessed measured and visual assessment AMSEA protocols.

At the conclusion of the standard sire evaluation (generally once progeny are between 18-24 months of age), the MLP project will continue and collect the ongoing measurement and visual classing of all F1 ewe progeny through 4-5 joinings (capturing reproduction records) and annual shearings.

Site Hosts Ewe Base Lambing L
Shearing S

Site Chair
Site Manager
Balmoral
Harrow, Vic
Balmoral Sire Evaluation Association & Tuloona Pastoral Co 17um, fine wool base, selecting for growth, fertility and wool cut L: August
S: February
Mark Bunge
M: 0409 962 248
Tom Silcock
M: 0419 882 239
MerinoLink
Temora, NSW
MerinoLink & Marty Moses 19um, previous sire evaluation progeny, and studs with ASBVs L: June
S: March
Richard Keniry
M: 0427 878 541
Sally Martin
M: 0400 782 477
Pingelly
WA
Yardstick Sire Evaluation Association & Murdoch University & University of WA 20um, meaty Merino ewes L: June
S: April
Brett Jones
M: 0428 323 012
Bron Clarke
M: 0418 957 293
New England
Armidale, NSW
New England Merino Sire Evaluation Association & CSIRO 17um, ultra-fine flock L: September
S: July
Duncan Lance
M: 0447 297 135
Jen Smith
Ph: 02 6776 1381
Macquarie
Trangie, NSW
Macquarie Sire Evaluation Association & NSW DPI Two types, 19-21 um, Centre Plus Poll & Towalba bloodlines L: May
S: October
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 drops within a site, across sites in the project and with animals in MERINOSELECT. 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 ensuring that a diverse range of sires were selected to ensure the relationship between reproduction, growth, carcass and fleece traits over a ewes lifetime is able to be assessed. The criteria were based on:

  • Industry representative: Involvement of horn/poll, Merino wool types, and sires with and without Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs).
  • Genetically representative: Sires have been selected from the four main genetic performance groups (clusters) in the MERINOSELECT database to ensure a wide diversity of sires. 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 focused 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 trait value and predicted change: Predicted to maintain, increase or decrease fleece value over time.
  • Performance range: High and low performance for traits based on percentile band tables.
  • Sire Age: A balance of young (progeny yet to be evaluated) and older rams.
  • Impact rams: Sires that have performed well in the Show Ring, sires with high semen sales (both with or without ASBVs) and sires with high ASBV index values.


MLP Sires - 2018

Macquarie 2018 New England 2018
Anderson Rams, 150266
Centre Plus Poll, 707115 *
Charinga (Doc), 130240
Glen Donald, 120014 *
GRASS Merino (R15), 141924
Gullen Gamble Poll, 14189
Haddon Rig, 2.715 *
Hazeldean, 11.3542 (Hugh) *
Kerin Poll, 160137
Langdene, 160950
Lewisdale Poll (Monty), 150010
Orrie Cowie (Trojan), 140050
Roseville Park (Poll), 150039
Stockman Poll (Pioneer), 130707
Wanganella, 150610
Willandra Poll, 160001
Alfoxton, 150430
Avington Poll, 160047
Bungulla, 160350
Clovernook Poll, 160095
Cressbrook, 140055 *
Eilan Donan, Harvey (5145)
Europambela, 120101
Hillcreston Park Poll, 110143
Hilltop, HT Poll 156
Karori, 150222
Nerstane, 150073 *
Petali Poll, 160849
Tallawong (Poll), 150280 *
Wurrook, 130149 *
Yalgoo, 160070

* = between MLP site linkage


MLP Sires - 2017

Macquarie 2017 MerinoLink 2017 Pingelly 2017 New England 2017
Centre Plus Poll, 707115 *
Collinsville Poll, 130545 (Apollo)
Darriwell, 130941 *
GRASS Merino, 122190 (P47) L
Gullen Gamble Poll, 120018
Hazeldean, 13.4936
Kerin Poll, 151911
Moojepin, 120652 *
Mumblebone, 151367
Roseville Park, 132933
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
Wanganella, 130816
West Plains Poll, 110004 (Mercenary) *
Wilgunya, 121224
Willandra Poll, 140030 (Des)
Bundilla Poll, 140055
Centre Plus Poll, 407185
Collinsville Poll, 130545 (Apollo) *
DT Kenilworth, WH13017
Greendale, 140141
Lachlan Merinos Poll, 015305
Leahcim Poll, 132624
Tallawong, 150280
Toland Poll, 151058
Trefusis, 150282
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
Wallaloo Park Poll, 150422
West Plains Poll, 110004 (Mercenary) *
Anderson Rams, 140474
Barloo Poll, 140027 (Eureka)
Billandri Poll, 151280
Coromandel Poll, 130660
Cranmore, 13.10
Edale, 10Z266K
Ingle Poll, 150087
Mianelup Poll, M00540 (Expo)
Moojepin, 120652
Moorundie Poll, NE73
Neearra Poll, 110264
Range View Poll, 5-680
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
West Plains Poll, 110004 (Mercenary) *
Woodyarrup, 150329
Connemara Poll, 140257
Conrayn, MVB123
Cressbrook, 140055
Egelabra, HEK 1.36
Grindon, 150017
Karori, 140188
Miramoona, 140012
Mirani, 120021
Moorundie Poll, NE73 *
Nerstane, 150073
Petali Poll, 150697
Trefusis, 150282 *
Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 *
West Plains Poll, 110004 (Mercenary) L*
Yalgoo, 150313

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

MLP Sires - 2015 & 2016

Balmoral 2015 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
Mumblebone, 130850
Nareeb Nareeb, 130380
Nerstane, 130467
One Oak No.2, R56 L*
Roseville Park, 140019
The Mountain Dam, 11/ESA004
Tuckwood Poll, 121021
Yalgoo, 120043
Yiddinga, 130374
Centre Plus Poll, 707115
Glen Holme , 141077 (Dohne)
GRASS Merino, 142194 (R4)
Greendale, 120012 *
Greenfields Poll, 140345
Greenland, 2.366
Hannaton Poll, 120046
Hazeldean, 11.3542 (Hugh)
Kiandra Poll, 140757
Kooringal, 130519
Kurra-Wirra, SB5585
Leahcim Poll, 090918 *
Melrose, 12UGB060
Mumblebone, 130389
Mumblebone, 140026
Nerstane, 100919
One Oak No.2, R56 *
Stockman Poll, 090853 (Stilts)
Terrick West Poll, 122220
The Mountain Dam, 11/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, 090137 (Jonty)
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, 110330 (Benny)
West Plains Poll, 110004 (Mercenary)
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, 120020
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

Key contacts for the MLP project

The project is managed by AMSEA on behalf of AWI. However, 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
Balmoral
MerinoLink
Pingelly
New England
Macquarie
Mark Bunge M: 0409 962 248
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@bcsagribusiness.com.au
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