Best traits now on­line

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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

Farm­ers want­ing more in­for­ma­tion or as­sis­tance can email sil­ or tele­phone 0800 sil­help (0800 745 435).

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