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Merino Lifetime Productivity

Have your say...we need your help!

Noting the diverse range of sheep types and selection strategies utilised by the MLP project’s participants, are there any particular traits or questions relevant to your business, or the greater sheep industry, that you would like explored? If so, we would like to hear from you.

The following table captures the annual data collected on all 5,000 F1 ewes in the project. Are there particular traits or qualities that are not listed?

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)


The project includes sires from horned and polled backgrounds; MERINOSELECT and Non- MERINOSELECT breeders; ASBV trait leaders and many show winners; breeders with objectives to produce large quantities of quality wool with less emphasis on carcass attributes while others are improving both quantity of wool, lambs and carcase; others are seeking to reduce micron and increase wool production simultaneously.

The project seeks to cover the broad range of potential commercially important objectives. BUT are your needs covered or are there attributes, groups of traits or analyses that we should be carrying out in the project or perhaps should consider in the last two joinings in the project?

Please pass on your ideas to AMSEA, AWI or the MLP Project Manager using the details provided below:

Name Role Contact Email
Anne Ramsay
Ben Swain
Neil Judd
MLP Project Manager
AMSEA Executive Officer
AWI Program Manager Genetics
0400 368 448
0427 100 542
0429 852 575

Latest Project News

Merino Superior Sires & AWI logo

The sire listings for the current round of joining have been recently finalised. The project received a total of 115 individual sire nominations for the 59 spots available across the four sites joining in late 2016 and early 2017. Regrettably, we were unable to accommodate all breeders that nominated, although the receipt of such a large number of nominations provided the project with a diverse range of sires to select from and helped facilitate a robust sire selection process.

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.

For the current round of joining the two sires selected to be used across sites were West Plains Mercenary and Trigger Vale Poll, 140477. West Plains Mercenary was used at Pingelly in 2016 and is an industry impact sire. Trigger Vale Poll, 140477 was entered at MerinoLink in 2016 and represents a selection approach that places considerable selection emphasis growth and carcase attributes.

The remainder of the sires selected at each site were chosen to help achieve the project aims and to further strengthen the linkage between sites and years. Broadly the sire selection criteria involved was:

  • 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).

Obviously with such a high level of over subscription some ram breeders have missed out having a sire selected for use in the MLP trial. Those that have missed out in this round of joining are encouraged to nominate for the Macquarie (Trangie, NSW) 2017 joining and the New England (NSW) 2018 joining. The project is eager to help those that miss out to identify sires that better meet project objectives the following year.

MLP sires – current joinings

MLP sires – previous joinings

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) will join 15 sires in 2017 and at the fifth site “Macquarie”, near Trangie (NSW) will join 16 sires in December 2016. All sites join for a maximum of two years.

Location of current MLP Sites, September, 2016Location of current MLP Sites, August, 2016

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.

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
New England
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
Sue Hatcher: 02 6391 3861

Project Contact Details

Name Role Contact Email
Anne Ramsay
Ben Swain
Neil Judd
MLP Project Manager
AMSEA Executive Officer
AWI Program Manager Genetics
0400 368 448
0427 100 542
0429 852 575

MLP site reports

Reports from sire evaluation sites hosting the Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) sites will be made available on the Merino Superior Sires website.

The first report from the Elders Balmoral site featuring their 2015 drop has been recently updated. The report is now available from MLP Reports.

MLP Sires - Current Joinings

Macquarie 2017 MerinoLink 2017 Pingelly 2017 New England 2017
Centre Plus Poll, 707115 *
Collinsville, 130545 (Apollo)
Darriwell, 130941 *
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 - Previous Joinings

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

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