Ge­net­ics and prof­itabil­ity link stud­ied

Countryman - - WOOL -

A new trial to im­prove the es­ti­ma­tion of prof­itabil­ity per hectare has been added to the Merino Life­time Pro­duc­tiv­ity project.

Ac­cord­ing to Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion, the four-year project will as­sess the vi­a­bil­ity of prac­ti­cal feed ef­fi­ciency as­sess­ments us­ing new ways of mea­sur­ing and com­par­ing feed in­take, body com­po­si­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“These will in­form new and im­proved method­olo­gies of prof­itabil­ity per hectare across all sire groups within the MLP project,” an AWI spokesman said.

“They could also im­prove the ex­ist­ing method­olo­gies — wether and ewe tri­als, Grass­gro, MI­DAS and Sheep Ob­ject mod­el­ling.

“The 2016 and 2017 drop F1 wethers from 29 di­ver­gent AI sires at the Pin­gelly MLP site in WA will firstly be as­sessed in an an­i­mal house to val­i­date pre­dic­tions of feed in­take, body re­serves and pro­duc­tiv­ity un­der dif­fer­ing lev­els of nu­tri­tion and then un­der nor­mal graz­ing con­di­tions. If suc­cess­ful, the as­sess­ments will then move to the F1 ewes in the Merino Life­time Pro­duc­tiv­ity trial.”

The AWI spokesman said the tech­nol­ogy that made this pos­si­ble were new “wear­able sen­sors” and other meth­ods to mea­sure feed in­take un­der graz­ing con­di­tions and the new DEXA car­cass scan­ning ma­chine.

“Cur­rently, the ex­trap­o­la­tion of per head pro­duc­tiv­ity to per hectare is based on an­i­mal liveweight and the typ­i­cal in­crease in en­ergy re­quire­ment of heav­ier an­i­mals,” he said.

“Us­ing the re­sults of the AWI funded project Se­lect­ing Sheep for a Re­source Lim­it­ing En­vi­ron­ment, this project will trial new meth­ods to as­sess profit per hectare.”

Merino prog­eny from 2016 and 2017 will be in­volved in the new MLP trial to re­search the cor­re­la­tion be­tween ge­net­ics and profit per hectare.

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