New Merino blood­lines re­port now out

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

A new re­port has de­liv­ered im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion to Merino breed­ers with im­pli­ca­tions for the prof­itabil­ity and per­for­mance of 73 Merino blood­lines.

NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Kathryn Eger­ton-Warburton said the Merino Blood­line Per­for­mance 2007-2018 re­port de­liv­ers ge­netic data pro­duc­ers can use to in­form their choice of rams.

‘‘Anal­y­sis of nine in­di­vid­ual traits and four fi­nan­cial in­di­ca­tors from 24 wether tri­als in New South Wales and one in Tasmania com­pared per­for­mance across blood­lines to show sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tion be­tween the lines,” Dr Eger­ton-Warburton said.

‘‘There was a strong re­la­tion­ship be­tween fleece weight and fi­bre di­am­e­ter across blood­lines, with a sig­nif­i­cant ge­netic vari­a­tion across the fi­bre di­am­e­ter range.

‘‘This ge­netic vari­a­tion of­fers two key op­tions to fit breed­ing ob­jec­tives — pro­duc- ers can choose a finer blood­line to re­duce fi­bre di­am­e­ter with­out com­pro­mis­ing clean fleece weight or choose a blood­line with a heav­ier fleece weight and main­tain their cur­rent fi­bre di­am­e­ter.’’

Merino blood­lines var­ied across a range of 3.6 mi­crons in fi­bre di­am­e­ter, 28 per cent in clean fleece weight and 13 per cent in live weight with pro­duc­tion dif­fer­ences trans­lat­ing into very sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in blood­line prof­itabil­ity.

Merino breed­ers and com­mer­cial wool pro­duc­ers can use the re­port to iden­tify the rel­a­tive per­for­mance of blood­lines and fine­tune their breed­ing pro­grams.

De­ter­mi­nants of prof­itabil­ity, in­clud­ing di­am­e­ter, fleece weight, live weight, sta­ple length and strength, style and colour, and mea­sures of fi­nan­cial per­for­mance al­low pro­duc­ers to com­pare blood­lines on a profit per head or per dry sheep equiv­a­lent (DSE) ba­sis.

Dr Eger­ton-Warburton said Merino pro- duc­ers can con­fi­dently use the data in se­lect­ing blood­lines which best suit their breed­ing ob­jec­tives.

‘‘The tri­als have each run from two to three years and we are con­fi­dent the in­for­ma­tion gives a very re­li­able in­di­ca­tion of po­ten­tial Merino prof­itabil­ity,’’ she said.

‘‘Ge­netic data has been iso­lated from sea­sonal and geo­graphic en­vi­ron­men­tal dif­fer­ences by group­ing mul­ti­ple teams of wethers into blood­lines across the trial sites.’’

NSW wether tri­als were run in the Cen­tral Table­lands, Cen­tral West, Northern Table­lands, Rive­rina, South­ern Table­lands and the Monaro.

Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion and NSW DPI funded the Merino Blood­line Per­for­mance project, which is avail­able online, www.meri­noblood­lines.com.au.

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