It will be business as usual for sheep breeders ordering DNA tests come July 1, with transition arrangements now in place to transfer the Sheep CRC's genomic testing operations to Neogen Australasia.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) has led the development of DNA testing within the Australian sheep industry and has worked in collaboration with Neogen since the start of the Information Nucleus program in 2007.
Drawing on this long history of successful collaboration, Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe and Neogen vice president Jason Lilly yesterday finalised the transition for the continuation of DNA services to the Australian sheep industry for when the Sheep CRC closes its doors on June 30.
Sheep breeders will continue to order tests online through www.sheepdna.com.au, with their samples processed and analysed at Neogen's Australian laboratories, and results incorporated into the Sheep Genetics databases for assignment of parentage and enhancement of breeding value accuracies.
"Yesterday's announcement is a major development in guaranteeing the R and D investment by industry in genomics will deliver commercial outcomes for breeders well into the future," Prof. Rowe said.
"Genomic technologies are the key to accelerating the rate of genetic improvement of our flocks, with a recent economic analysis estimating they will increase the value of the industry by more than $121 million by 2029 as a direct result of the CRC's 12-year research program.
"Achieving these gains for producers would not be possible without securing a smooth transition of our testing arrangements to a trusted commercial provider like Neogen."
Neogen will continue to employ staff currently based at the Sheep CRC's Armidale base at the University of New England, ensuring continuity of service provision and retention of industry knowledge.
Dr Lilly said the company recognised the importance of ensuring consistency for sheep producers and retaining a presence in Armidale and the service it provides to strategic industry partners.
"Integrating Neogen's expertise with this established operation will strengthen our genomic capabilities and our ability to deliver valuable information to the Australian industry," Dr Lilly said.
Neogen is a global leader in genomic testing for livestock, with headquarters in the United States, and laboratories in Scotland, China, Brazil, as well as Australia.
It supplies genetic testing to all 27 of Australia's major beef cattle associations, as well as dairy cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and other species.