Improving the genetic base of the flock by buying in high quality rams has many long-term benefits for the improvement of the flocks performance and profitability.
Genetic tools can be used for:
Traditional manual pedigree recording methods can be unreliable at producing accurate and consistent pedigree assignment. DNA verification to sire for new rams creates accurate pedigree records and therefore more accurate selection and improved genetic gain. (i.e. Using DNA parentage recording is more accurate than manual parentage identification done during a lambing beat.)
The utilisation of DNA parentage assignment (Shepherd®):
Provides very accurate pedigree assignment using DNA information.
Traditional pedigree recording is no longer required at mating or lambing.
Allows multiple-sire mating mobs rather than single sire mating.
Eliminates error prone manual recording.
Reduces labour costs and the need to do a lambing beat.
Detects if unplanned mating's have occurred.
Establishing a lamb’s parentage using Shepherd requires less work, less interruption and increases pedigree accuracy.
Assigning Breeding Values (BVs)
Breeding Values are an estimate of an animal’s true breeding worth based on pedigree and performance recorded information. They are essentially a projection of how that animals progeny will perform for a range of traits.
To make selection decisions easier key traits are combined into a Breeding index which provides focus to a breeding program aligned to give objective i.e. maximising profit through key maternal traits or greater emphasis on increased growth and other terminal traits.
By selecting Rams based on their BVs farmers can improve the genetic merit of their flock for a range of profit driving traits.