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Sheep & their management project - Genetics Training

Project Leader
Lu Hogan
Sheep CRC Ltd
Tel: 0427 687 432

About the project

For the sheep industry to maximise its return on investment in genetics, it is imperative to:

  • maximise ram breeder participation in Sheep Genetics (MERINOSELECT and LAMBPLAN) and use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) in ram marketing, and
  • increase the usage of ASBVs by ram buyers making selection decisions for their flocks.


This project will deliver training to ram buyers, ram breeders and their service providers to increase understanding and adoption of genetic technologies within the industry. Through building capacity and skills in those that provide advice and support to commercial ram buyers and breeders the project will provide a platform for continued adoption of genetic technologies post CRC.

The 2010 Sheep CRC Survey found that approximately 38% of commercial sheep producers currently make “some use” of ASBV information in their ram buying decisions. The figure is lower for wool producers (30%) compared to mixed wool/prime lamb producers (41%).

By June 2014 this project aims to increase the utilisation of ASBVs by ram buyers; to 50% for mixed wool/prime lamb producers and 40% for wool producers. To achieve this target the combined activities of Project 1.1 (Bred Well Fed Well) and Project 1.5 (Genetics training) will need to change the practices of 3,000 producers.

Business Case

The sheep industry has invested heavily in the development of a national genetic benchmarking system that is delivered to industry through Sheep Genetics (LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT). This service is delivering significant rates of genetic gain to those breeders and buyers who utilise the technology. Recent investments in genomic technologies provide the opportunity to accelerate rates of genetic gain through;

  • increased accuracy of breeding values
  • the ability to test animals at a younger age
  • the ability to test for hard to measure traits, and
  • parentage tests that will provide accurate pedigree.


Despite the availability of this rapidly advancing technology, participation by Merino breeders in MERINOSELECT and utilisation of breeding values by all commercial sheep producers remains low.

Increased utilisation of breeding values in ram breeding and ram buying decisions provides the best opportunity for the industry to reap the gains from the vast investment in that has occurred in genetics R&D.


This project will impact on decision making processes across the genetics supply chain by;

  • Creating a network of industry influencers that are advocates of LAMBPLAN, MERINOSELECT and ASBVs
  • Building a network of genetics service providers that can deliver group training and one-on-one advice to ram breeders and ram buyers
  • Encouraging ram breeder participation in LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT and the use of ASBV information in the marketing of rams
  • Encouraging ram buyers to use ASBV information in their ram buying decisions


The activities of this project are described under six key components;

  1. Building the capacity and skills of breeders, service providers and industry influencers that have significant impact on sheep selection and breeding decisions in the wool and sheep meat industries.
  2. Gathering information on the value and financial returns that can be achieved from using ASBVs and presenting this information in formats that are simple and easy to interpret.
  3. Development of new tools, resources and information on ASBVs that is simple, easy to understand and use in a commercial sheep breeding environment.
  4. Delivering training to ram breeders, ram buyers and service providers in practical ram selection using breeding values as a tool.
  5. Supporting other genetics training activities that are funded and managed by Sheep Genetics, MLA, AWI and other industry organisations.