Sheep Genetics is a key mechanism for delivery of outcomes from genetics and genomics R&D and genetic improvement for both Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). Sheep Genetics is one of the elements that drive genetic change within the sheep industry. RAMPOWER is currently a free service provided by Sheep Genetics and is used to generate selection indexes for a single group of animals (within mob). With the momentum of the Sheep CRC's, Ram Select Workshop's, MLA and AWI'Ss Making More from Sheep, Bred Well Fed Well workshops there is renewed interest for ram and commercial breeders to use a selection indexes to improve genetic gain and on farm productivity.
RAMPOWER has been converted to a web base interface and has been in a pilot phase for 3 years. At present Sheep Genetics staff and a limited number of Service Providers utilise the RAMPOWER website interface to provide RAMPOWER indexes. RAMPOWER has the opportunity to be a platform to encourage more ram breeders to use MERINOSELECT and for commercial breeders to achieve additional genetic and financial gain by incorporating RAMPOWER indexes for ewe selection and Australian Sheep Breeding Values for ram selection.
Overall there is a general lack of awareness about RAMPOWER and its benefits amongst Service Providers, Fibre Testing businesses and Meat Scanners. There is an opportunity to promote the benefits to these potential users via a number of networks (for example Sheep Connect, MerinoLink) and genetic education programs. The web interface, turnaround time from submission to report and access to the generic Sheep Genetics selection indexes are seen as key positive attributes for RAMPOWER. Recommendations to update the web site with more detailed explanations and to standardise data headings will improve the commercialisation prospects. A key priority is to maintain the RAMPOWER website as a simple interface. Targeting and highlighting the benefits of using RAMPOWER selection indexes to ram and commercial breeders and service providers using practical case studies will be essential to promoting a greater uptake and use of the service. Incorporating RAMPOWER access with the current Sheep Genetics proposal to accredit Genetic Service Providers will ensure that the product is used and interpreted correctly and provide a level of quality assurance. The pricing model for RAMPOWER will be driven by the extra value subscribers or users see in the end product, ease of use, reliability and support.