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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2007-08
taRGEt PERFORmaNcE aGaiNSt taRGEt SuSTAINABLE PRODuCTION SYSTEMS (CONTINuED) A revolutionary pasture pre-breeding and characteristic selection system, using pedigree information and estimated breeding values, is nearing completion. Negotiation commenced with two major international seed companies to undertake commercial development. Collaborative investment with GRDC, MLA, DA and RIRDC in Pastures Australia with a focus on increasing adoption of pasture technology, development of genetic evaluation systems for pastures and closer collaboration with private seed and agronomy companies. Lucerne breeding investment proposal designed to secure commercial replacement of GRDC funding developed and presented to industry. Five EOIs received. A new red legged earth mite tolerant sub-clover released with commercialisation partner selected. Line has widespread national adoption potential. Completion of breeding, selection and release of two new barrel medics with a pod holding trait incorporated. Prototype pasture selection tool developed with two industry workshops held to assess effectiveness. Four programs undertaken by State agencies in NSW and WA, two in collaboration with farmer groups, to develop agronomy and management packages for new pasture legume varieties that are now commercially available. Engagement with the Australian Seed Federation and individual seed companies to develop a pilot merit testing scheme. Development of tools and knowledge to assist woolgrowers to adapt to climate change and increasing seasonal variability. The Enrich project identified a number of native and exotic fodder shrubs that have the potential to reduce methane production and losses in dietary protein and energy in sheep and other ruminants, treat acidosis, and provide a degree of activity against intestinal worms under grazing. A project with the Australian Farm Institute in identifying the potential costs and impacts of a carbon trading scheme for rural industries. This information will be provided to policy makers. Investment in rabbit R&D to maintain the effectiveness of bio-control techniques. Four projects were completed providing a sound basis to understand the current situation with rabbits and direct future investment. 2007/08 research indicated existing control methods (eg ripping, poisoning and fumigation) add significant value to RHD effectiveness and that rabbits have not developed resistance to such a level that they can withstand high virus challenge. Leadership training for wool industry professionals. 2008 scholarships were awarded for both Australian Rural Leadership Program and the Nuffield Farming Scholars award. The Young Merino Stud Breeders Leadership Project provided leadership training for 20 young stud breeders. Long term investment in post graduate education. SHEEP PRODuCTIVITY Delivery and extension of breeding tools to stud and commercial growers through the Sheep Genetics national genetic evaluation scheme. The target of 50% of Merino rams sold with ASBVs by 2012 is unlikely to be met due to drought and lower ewe numbers. 160 Merino breeders are currently members of MERINOSELECT. Through ongoing industry liaison and targeted workshopping, the number of studs and commercial producers joining MERINOSELECT, providing data and selling rams with data continues to grow. An increasing number of influential studs are joining MERINOSELECT. Development of additional tools that enhance or improve the existing breeding tools. A national set of visual sheep scores for wool quality, conformation and other production traits has been developed and is being adopted through industry as a breeding and selection tool. The Visual Sheep Scores are enabling the collection of data in preparation for generating wool quality and breech trait ASBVs. The integration of the first DNA markers from SheepGenomics (SGP) into ASBVs is on track with the application of the 60,000 markers DNA test (SNP chip) which has been developed in collaboration with the International SNP Consortium (ISGC). 12 AWI scholarship students are continuing with their studies. Three students completed their PhDs during 2007/08. Eight postgraduate scholars commenced studies with the Sheep CRC during 2007/08. AWI 07/08 ANNUAL 33
AWI Annual Report 2008-09
Annual Report 2006-07