Gearing up with genetics

02 July 2015

Ram breeders in Western Australia's central wheatbelt will learn about genetic tools to boost production and profitability at a Sheep Genetics Regional Forum in York next week.

The forum is being delivered on 7 July by Sheep Genetics, a joint project of MLA and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). It is part of a national series to help ram breeders better understand how genetics may be applied to their operation, including:

  • How is an Australian Sheep Breeding Value (ASBV) calculated?
  • What is an index, and how to understand indexes
  • How to use the Sheep Genetics website including uploading the dashboard and uploading your sale and semen catalogues and printing pen cards
  • Data quality
  • How to get management grouping right

Investment in genetics has long been touted as a cost effective and sustainable way to achieve productivity gains across the livestock industries. MLA research has shown improved productivity through genetics in the past 10 years of R&D investment has created $2.88 billion in benefits to sheepmeat producers.

MLA General Manager, Livestock Productivity Dr Jane Weatherley said the forums were a chance to speak firsthand with the Sheep Genetics team and to develop a clearer concept of the value of implementing genetics in the selection process.

“There are a range of tools available through Sheep Genetics which can be incorporated into sheep and wool enterprises to assist in informed decision making with a view to increasing production efficiencies and profit,” Jane said.

“These include the LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT programs which form a database of performance records from more than 6.5 million animals across the country.

“However, understanding how to implement and maximise the benefits of these programs can seem daunting and these forums provide an opportunity to develop this knowledge so that accelerating genetic gain can become a part of the day-to-day management regime of more sheep and wool operations.”

Regional forums are an opportunity to catch up with Sheep Genetics staff and meet with other breeders. Each forum will have valuable information for all breeders and plenty of time for questions.

Forum registration is $33 per business unit. If you are interested in attending email

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