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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2013-14
Development of improved data collecting and analysis that leads to improved profitability and rates of genetic gain. New tools to benchmark rates of genetic gain and highlight how higher rates of gain can be achieved. Increased collection of older age fleece traits and lifetime fertility data including both phenotypic and genomic information. Improve software for more automated methods of data collection and transfer. Development of a viable Service Provider network of Breeding Value technology advisers. Analysis of the value of genomic tools to the wool industry in relation to existing tools. Addressing barriers to realising the value of existing tools. Increase use of genetic benchmarking by 5% a year to 2017 across stud animals. The number of Merino and Dohne flocks rose by 5.3% in 2013/14, with a net increase of 10 Merino Studs, and the number of Merinos and Dohnes analysed rose by 6.2% in 2013/14. Preliminary target of 6% increase in the current rate of genetic gain across the industry by 2017. Progress has been limited toward revising targets for this program in 2013/14, and will become a priority focus for 2014/15. Analysis of estimated rates of genetic gain in MERINOSELECT indexes remains incomplete. Low-cost AI: 800 seminal plasma proteins have been isolated and work has commenced on isolating which ones are most affected by freeze thawing and lead to the 20% conception rate when frozen semen is used in low cost cervical compared to the 70% conception rate when used via laparoscopic AI. Central Test Sire Evaluation: 56 new sires were joined at AMSEA sire evaluation sites in 2014, bringing to a total of 467 the number of AI sires used in Sire Evaluation, with 76,273 progeny in MERINOSELECT outside sire evaluation sites and the ram breeder's home flock. Merino Superior Sire Report for 2013/14 was downloaded 823 times, an increase of 17% compared to the 2012/13 report. Site reports are downloaded at variable numbers between sites, between 450 and 900 times per site report. 657 sires now have 299,138 grand progeny in MERINOSELECT outside sire evaluation sites and the ram breeder's home flock. MERINOSELECT: The number of Merino flocks in MERINOSELCT increased by 5.3% in 2013/14. Validation of DNA pedigree was conducted at three sites and while the data is being analysed further, it shows the DNA information is highly accurate data; the majority of errors appear to be human errors in recording or blood sampling or where rams are very closely bred, ie twins. In syndicate matings, DNA results are showing the number of progeny per sire is highly variable. AWI's involvement in the Sheep CRC has concluded and a conference was held in Adelaide on the 9th of July outlining its achievements (see www.sheepcrc.org.au). AWI Program 4 funding focussed on the Information Nucleus flock and associated genetic analysis efforts, which provided the core data for a range of activities in reproductive efficiency, genomic breeding values, and performance across environments. At the conclusion of the AWI-funded program, a total of 12,000 Sheep CRC and industry animals have been genotyped along with another 70,000 animals tested for pedigree and horn/poll. Program 4- related extension activities included genetic service provider training. An extensive review process has concluded that while yearling records do give good information of lifetime production information, large gains in trait accuracy can be achieved compared to yearling age records by adding hogget and adult records. Nonetheless, it was decided not to proceed with the large proposed three research station Lifetime Productivity Trial. Despite its size, it had limited power in determining the genetic parameters needed for low heritable traits across ages and there was significant reluctance among research organisations to sign up for a nine-year trial. Collation of old R&D data and new data from existing MERINOSELECT flocks will continue. The forward strategy for this area will focus on collation of old stud and research flock data, and support for collection of new data from existing ram breeding flocks, and collection of additional data in wether trials and sire evaluations. AWI is investing in the R&D and extension of breeding tools to improve genetic gain in Merino flocks. REPORT OF 2013/14 OPERATIONS -- ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2014-15
AWI Annual Report 2012-13