Merinos

Merinos

What difference can genetics make to Merino flocks?

There’s no doubt. When you’re buying a ram, his physical and structural soundness must be factored in. But what you can’t see is just as important. Using breeding values allows you to see ‘under the hood’ of an animal. You can see his weak points and his strengths to help decide if he’s the right fit for your flock.

Can you pick the performer?

Take two Merino rams. Same price. Same weight. Same micron. Both structurally sound.  Which one would you choose? Find out by watching this short video and see what difference genetics can make.

What have other Merino producers gained from genetics?

Meet Merino producers Russell and Ricky Luhrs. They share their journey with breeding values and how they’ve accelerated the performance of their flock.

Meet Ricky and Russell Luhrs

Russell and Ricky Luhrs run a commercial prime lamb and Merino sheep operation across three properties in western Victoria.

"When Ricky started bringing in new genetics, you could see the results as soon as the new lambs hit the ground. They were bigger and they just grew." Russell Luhrs

FIND OUT MORE

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How do I get started with genetics?

Accelerating your flock’s performance with better breeding values starts with setting your breeding objective, understanding estimated breeding values and selection indexes and knowing your way around the Sheep Genetics website.

You can then start to apply your new-found knowledge when you’re ready to shop for your next high performing ram.

Here are some short ‘how-to’ animated videos to help get you started with using breeding values. It’s best to watch them in the order shown. Take your time. Watch and re-watch the videos at your leisure.

MODULE 1: Getting started with breeding values
EPISODE 1: What are Australian Sheep Breeding Values?
EPISODE 1: What are Australian Sheep Breeding Values?
EPISODE 2: How do I set a breeding objective for my sheep flock?
EPISODE 2: How do I set a breeding objective for my sheep flock?
EPISODE 3: What are sheep indexes?
EPISODE 3: What are sheep indexes?

EPISODE 1: What are Australian Sheep Breeding Values?

Australian sheep breeding values – or ASBVs – allow you to predict the genetics each animal will pass on to their progeny. This short animation clearly explains the ins and outs of ASBVs.

Resources

EPISODE 2: How do I set a breeding objective for my sheep flock?

Before you start using breeding values, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve with your flock. Here are some important things to consider when setting your breeding objective.

Resources
MODULE 2: Using breeding values to find rams on Sheep Genetics
EPISODE 1: How do I find rams on the Sheep Genetics website?
EPISODE 1: How do I find rams on the Sheep Genetics website?

EPISODE 1: How do I find rams on the Sheep Genetics website?

Sheep Genetics is where you’ll find breed-specific databases that store and update ASBVs for thousands of animals. Here’s how you find and rank rams based on their ASBVs or sheep indexes.

Resources
MODULE 3: Putting breeding values into practice
EPISODE 1: How do I shop for a high performing ram?
EPISODE 1: How do I shop for a high performing ram?
Using traits – COMING SOON
Stay tuned. More how-to videos are coming soon. These will cover key sheep traits including wool, fertility, carcase/eating quality and growth traits.

More information

Contact

Emma McCrabb, Sheep Genetics, 02 8055 1818. Email Emma

Resources

  • MERINOSELECT is Australia’s genetic evaluation system for Merino producers.
  • DOHNE MERINO is Australia’s genetic evaluation system for Dohne Merino producers.
  • Bred Well Fed Well workshops help producers analyse and plan a genetics and nutrition regime suited to their environment and markets to boost profitability.
  • Profitable Grazing Systems takes small groups of producers and pairs them with specialist coaches who share their knowledge, skills and experience on topics including genetics and reproduction.
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