The range of Zoetis’ Genetic Services use genomic (DNA) technology to improve the accuracy of animal selection and retention of the highest genetic merit animals within a flock. Whether for commercial or stud farms, the more accurately animals are selected based on their superior genes, the faster the genetic gain.
Zoetis have three types of products for improved genetics selection:
These products are used to correctly identify one or both parents, improving accuracy of pedigree of animals in the flock, enabling effective use of multi-sire mating plans and reducing labour requirements at lambing.
Genomic analysis can do more than just identify parentage. Future performance can be more accurately predicted using DNA markers. Farmers can utilise these tests to more accurately identify the genetic merit of animals in their flock and in turn improve selection, retention and management strategies. Furthermore results can be used to identify genetic trends and assist in future breeding strategies.
These tests can identify animals carrying either desirable traits (double muscling, increased fertility) or genetic defects (e.g. yellow fat, micropthalmia). These traits can also be identified using the larger genomic products (Sheep 5K, Sheep 50K).
Zoetis also provides a total genetic evaluation program to support achieving your breeding objectives:
Shepherd® Complete is a complete package of genetic testing services, designed to maximise your return on investment in genomic technology and help you reach your breeding goals faster.
SHEPHERD® Plus is Zoetis’ standard parentage reporting solution for sheep, allowing you to more accurately and efficiently manage your flock.
SHEPHERD® Ultra is Zoetis’ enhanced parentage reporting solution for sheep, designed for breeders or commercial farmers who have less available management information (such as known sire and dam lists), or for those wanting gene tests on all animals tested.
Multi sire mating, so more ewes pregnant to stud rams in first cycle.
Pasture conservation, due to fewer mating mobs.
Labour saving, avoiding the need for tagging at birth.
Less interference for easier lambing.
GENETIC GAIN BENEFITS
Increased accuracy of breeding values through more accurate pedigree.
The process involves DNA sampling of rams twice – as they go out with the ewes, and again as they come in.
Ewes are sampled once at scanning, and the lambs once at tailing.
Management records are also important, such as mating and docking groups.
Parentage and SIL BV analysis are completed in time for the most effective decision making.
Sheep5K® is Zoetis’ leading genomic tool, enabling farmers to accelerate genetic gain by identifying genetically superior animals earlier, and reducing costly selection and breeding mistakes.
There are various uses for Sheep5K®, including:
Sheep5K® test a selection of ram hoggets before hogget mating to ensure that the best genetics are actually being used.
Screen a selection of two-tooth rams with Sheep5K® before using Ramguard™, to ensure the most FE tolerant rams are being used.
Sheep5K® test two-tooth rams before sale to ensure that your best genetics are not being sold. Or, if they are being sold, that the sale price reflects the investment made and the true value of the ram.
In commercial flocks, Sheep5K® can be used to monitor genetic trends, discover which rams are working and to select the best ewe lambs for retention.
The most efficient and economic way to use genomics is through two-stage selection.
Rank your structurally sound young ram hoggets using SIL eBVs
Sheep5K® the top 20% (this ranks these top rams more accurately)
Then select your most superior rams to sire the next generation.
WHAT BREEDS CAN USE Sheep5K®?
Sheep5K® can be used in these New Zealand sheep breeds.
NB: Your flock doesn’t need to be purebred, but must have at least 75% bloodlines for that breed or have at least 30% combination for composites.
The efficacy of genomics relies on maintaining a strong link to New Zealand’s industry-wide reference pool of high density genotypes. Testing sires with Sheep50K® takes care of this.
Sheep50K® is principally used on stud farms, but commercial farms may use this to connect their rams to the data pool to enable Sheep5K® to be used.
Sheep50K® is for animals that will have a large impact on the genetic data pool. Farmers need the depth of the information Sheep50K® provides, to inform subsequent Sheep5K® results.
Young animals are tested with Sheep5K®, but their results draw on the greater information provided by their sires’ Sheep50K® results. This then delivers higher accuracy to the young animals’ breeding value.
Your Total Genomic Analysis Program
Shepherd® Complete is exactly that – a complete package of genetic testing services, designed to maximise your return on investment in genomic technology and help you reach your breeding goals faster.
Shepherd COMPLETE provides a combination of the following testing services;
Shepherd® PLUS or Shepherd ULTRA – Parentage service for lambs to accurately identify parents.
Sheep5K® – used on a selection of ram lambs to identify superior rams for the future breeding season.
Sheep50K® – used on sires that will have a significant impact on future generations, ensuring a strong linkage to the genomic reference population and accuracy of current and future evaluation results.
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
Your Zoetis representative works with you to establish:
Where your breeding program is at now
Where you want it to go, and
What needs to happen to get from (a) to (b).
The rep then customises a genetic testing strategy that aligns with your breeding objectives. They remain involved throughout the process, helping you interpret and implement results for maximum benefit.
Results are made available through traditional channels and Zoetis’s on-line reporting tool SearchPoint®. This intuitive, powerful and insightful tool lets you analyse and organise your data in ways that have not been possible to date.
Single Gene Tests
Zoetis offers the following single gene tests:
MyoMAX: This gene increases a lamb’s carcass weight and muscle yield. A single copy results in 5% more muscling and a double copy up to 10% more.
LambMAX: Increases the number of lambs born per ewe. A single copy lifts lambing percentage by approximately 25% and a double copy by approximately 50%.
LoinMAX: Affects loin muscling, providing around 10% greater muscle mass. A double copy ram will pass the gene onto all progeny.
I-Scan: Microphthalmia is carried by Texel sheep and causes blindness (small or absent eyes) in affected animals.
Inverdale: Prolificacy gene linked to the female chromosome. Lifts lambing percentage significantly, but double copy ewes are infertile. Careful management is required.
Yellow Fat (BC02): Yellow fat appears at a low level and is found predominantly in the Perendale breed.