Best traits now online
NEW Zealand’s recorded sheep genetic pool is significantly expanding which means more opportunities to improve genetic traits. Beef + Lamb New Zealand uses its SIL-ACE genetic evaluation with 470 ram breeders and 680 flocks throughout the country. It is estimated that up to 80 per cent of rams used on New Zealand sheep farms come from SIL-ACE performance-recorded flocks.
Beef + Lamb geneticist Dr Mark Young said growth in the SIL-ACE evaluation is being achieved, even though New Zealand’s sheep population has been declining.
SIL-ACE, a large-scale genetic evaluation, compares rams, not flocks or breeds. Commercial farmers wanting to find rams which are recording desired traits can use an online tool, FlockFinder, which lists flocks in SILACE with genetic data matching those traits.
Dr Young said commercial farmers are recognising the value of SIL-ACE.
In order to increase data accessibility, Beef + Lamb is testing the RamFinder tool, whereby ram breeders can specify genetic trait combinations and the tool trawls through the data.
‘‘SIL-ACE becomes more valuable to commercial farmers as more flocks join and as improved tools make the resulting genetic information more accessible,’’ B+LNZ general manager farm Richard Wakelin said
SIL-ACE is run every two months and results from the February 2011 evaluation are now available at www. beeflambnz. com and www.sil.co.nz.
Farmers wanting more information or assistance can email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 silhelp (0800 745 435).