ASBVs vital to support visual checks

ASBVs vital to support visual checks


Sheep
Attendees got hands on with the Ejanding rams on display at the Sheep Easy 2016 field day in a demonstration of the benefit of considering ASBVs along with visual assessments when making ram selections.

Attendees got hands on with the Ejanding rams on display at the Sheep Easy 2016 field day in a demonstration of the benefit of considering ASBVs along with visual assessments when making ram selections.

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A SPOTLIGHT was shone on the Ejanding Merino and Poll Merino stud operation during the Sheep Easy field day.

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A SPOTLIGHT was shone on the Ejanding Merino and Poll Merino stud operation during the Sheep Easy field day.

Sheep's Back producer advisory panel committee member and Ejanding stud principal Brett Jones, Dowerin, was asked to talk about his experience utilising ASBVs within his stud.

Mr Jones said ASBVs give power in traits that are difficult to assess visually which was demonstrated by Meghan Cornelius, sheep genetics development officer at Department of Food and Agriculture (DAFWA), with a hands-on activity.

Attendees were asked to select from a group of six Ejanding rams which they believed would throw the best yearling weight lambs and which featured the best fleece weight.

After the group members had made their choices, Ms Cornelius read out the ASBVs for the rams and it became clear that the best traits were not always visually recognisable with people often making the incorrect choice.

Mr Jones said visual assessment was still critical, but it must complement ASBVs.

"ASBVs provide an accurate way to predict genetic performance within our flock and in comparison to others," Mr Jones said.

"As a consequence our genetic improvement is trending in the right direction."

Providing evidence that ASBVs work, Mr Jones said the top 50 sires ranked by the DP index in Australia currently six are Ejanding rams and one is by an Ejanding ram.

"ASBVs allow our switched-on clients to select rams that suit their requirements and whatever their immediate focus is, they can target traits in a more accurate and transparent fashion," Mr Jones said.

"We can do the same when we are making our own selections.

"Put simply, ASBVs have contributed positively to our genetic gain because they work."

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