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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2015-16
Sire evaluation and Sheep Genetics • 2,000 copies of the 2015 edition of the Merino Superior Sires (MSS) report (No.21) were distributed. It included the results of the 184 sires evaluated over the past five years. Excellent visitation growth continues to be observed for the MSS website (www.merinosuperiorsires.com.au) with particular interest in the MSS 21 report. • Renewed interest in establishing/re-establishing Merino sire evaluation sites across Australia is being reported. In part, this renewal of interest highlights the success of current AMSEA work and demonstrates the value of data produced in reports such as MSS and projects like the MLP project for woolgrowers in Australia. • The existing Sheep Genetics business plan was successfully concluded, particularly from a wool industry perspective. For the 5 years from July 2011, Merino breeder membership in MERINOSELECT grew at an average of 8.8% per annum, compared to an average 0.9% per annum decline in LAMBPLAN membership over the same period. In terms of market failure, Sheep Genetics cost recovery targets were comfortably exceeded in each of the past 2 years. Through 2015/16, MLA and AWI collaborated to develop a new Sheep Genetics Business Plan for the period to 2020. This planning process was guided by AWI Board determination that the MERINOSELECT service no longer requires financial subsidisation, and the focus of AWI funding should be on genetic research activities. Other initiatives • An updated analysis of wether and ewe trial data collected over the past decade was released in June 2016. See www.wool.com/merinobloodline The analysis covered 25 wether and ewe trials with 77 bloodlines in the analysis. This compares to the 2014 analysis which included 23 trials and 71 bloodlines and the 2010 trial with 57 trials and 268 bloodlines. A further analysis will be conducted in 2018. • The updated wether and ewe trial report included results from the 2014-2016 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge. Full reports from the 2014-16 challenge have been produced and published. The results add to the knowledge bank generated by AMSEA work and projects such as the MLP project that show significant differences exist between Merino types in key productivity traits and also in profit generating potential in different environments. • Good progress continues to be observed with work to improve conception results from cervical 2,000 copies of the 2015 edition of the Merino Superior Sires (MSS) report (No.21) were distributed. It included the results of the 184 sires evaluated over the past five years. The report is also available on the MSS website at www.merinosuperiorsires.com.au artificial insemination using frozen semen. A broad range of strategies are being examined. It is hoped that the work may lead to a technique that allows a substantial increase in usage of elite Merino genetics by the Australian wool industry via relatively low cost cervical artificial insemination. • There has been excellent progress made in a project exploring techniques/processes to facilitate sexing of ram semen. It is possible that commercialisation of the methodology will occur in the near future. • There has been excellent progress made in reviewing the existing Visual Sheep Scoring system used by the wool industry. Consensus has been reached for scores requiring slight modification with several new traits also identified as priorities for preparation of draft Visual Sheep Scores. An amended Visual Sheep Scoring booklet will be generated, published and made available in the coming months. PROGRAM 5: REPRODUCTION INVESTMENT FOCUS • Improving reproductive performance of the National Merino flock is a high priority for AWI and investment in this area will increase further during the 2016/17–2018/19 strategic plan. • The main area of investment will aim to improve ewe and lamb survival and hence the profitability of sheep producers • The program will continue to establish and provide hands-on woolgrower training to deliver applied knowledge and practical skills to enhance woolgrowers’ ability to achieve the targets below. 16 REPORT OF 2015/16 OPERATIONS – ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2014-15
AWI Annual Report 2016-17