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Sheep CRC and related video clips

CRC Association Showcasing Early Career Researchers Finalist: Dr Honor Calnan

Sheep CRC Postgraduate, Dr Honor Calnan, has been selected as a Finalist in the CRC Association's 'Showcasing Early Career Researchers' category.

Honor recently submitted a 30 second video clip to the Association titled "Retaining the red in lamb meat" and has been selected as a Finalist. 

Honor's PhD investigates factors influencing the oxidative process of lamb browning, identifying practical methods such as feeding vitamin E and selective breeding that can improve the colour stability and thus the value of Australian lamb meat.

To watch this video clip click here.

Download the related media release below. To register to attend the CRCA Conference click here.


DownloadLamb colour research Honor (233 KB)


DNA testing turns meat quality dream into reality

The long-held dream of guaranteeing the eating quality of every single sheep that comes off his farm is now a reality for Western Australian sheep breeder Dawson Bradford.

Mr Bradford believes genetic testing will help to eventually eliminate variability in meat quality, however its success means doing the hard work now to identify the right breeding stock for the industry. He is already using DNA testing to identify rams in his flock that possess genes for desirable but hard-to-measure traits such as intra-muscular fat, tenderness and lean meat yield.

"Previously we weren’t able to monitor or record these traits until after slaughter; DNA testing allows us to identify rams when they are young that meet these selection criteria so that we can build up that population up," Mr Bradford said.

To watch this video click here.

Download the media release below.



Genomic testing maps out path for leading breeders

Genomic testing has dramatically changed ram selection on Dale Price’s Glencoe farm, identifying superior stock for improving his flock, as well as exposing traits in rams that he would otherwise have selected that would have set back the rate of genetic gain.

Mr Price runs Majardah Poll Dorsets, part of the Meat Elite Group of studs which participated in the commercial-style DNA trials conducted as part of the Genomics Pilot Project by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC).

To watch this video click here.

Download the media release below.


Team DNA profiling delivers highly predictable performance of future lambs

DNA testing not only identifies the breeding potential of individual rams, the benefits of increased certainty in predicting performance of future progeny multiplies dramatically when a preferred genetic profile is applied to teams of rams, according to Riverina studmaster Murray Long. Mr Long, of Pendarra White Suffolks stud at Ardlethan, NSW, has positioned himself at the forefront of the genomic revolution taking place within the sheep industry, completely overhauling the structure of his breeding program to exploit the massive benefits available through selecting for specific traits. He has drastically scaled back his ewes from 800 to 450, to allow him to focus on testing and breeding for meat eating quality. “People used to worry about how to fit genomics into their flock management, but it’s actually a question of building your management around the benefits DNA testing offers,” Mr Long said.

To watch this video click here.

Download the media release below.


JIVET & DNA supercharge sheep breeding at Leahcim

Andrew Michael has taken sheep breeding beyond the cutting edge and into new territory, with a new program that is super-charging the speed of genetic gain in his flock.

Known as JIVET – juvenile in vitro embryo transfer – the program has already delivered stud lambs years in advance of those from his conventionally joined flock, thanks to a combination of old-school visual appraisal and traditional measurement techniques, with the latest in DNA testing and embryo collection methods. Put simply, the program identifies superior breeding stock at a very early age (within weeks of birth); uses advanced embryo technology to collect eggs from ewe lambs at approximately six to eight weeks of age; joining then occurs in a test tube before the lambs are carried to term in surrogate mothers

To watch this video click here.

Download the media release below.


Andrew Heinrich, Ella Matta Stud, Kangaroo Island, SA

DNA testing has taken the guesswork out of breeding and fast-tracked profitability on Andrew Heinrich's Kangaroo Island farm - and he is just in the experimental stage of using the cutting-edge technology. Mr Heinrich said having confidence in his mating predictions was making it easier to get consistent genetic gain, in turn improving profitability. Mr Heinrich runs a White Suffolk stud and newly formed Poll Merino stud on 820ha in the centre of the island south west of Adelaide, and has high hopes for what genomic testing will be able to achieve for his business in years to come. In the commercial flock he mates 1500 Merino ewes to Merinos and 1000 to prime lamb, in addition to having a White Suffolk stud ewe flock of 500 and about 400 Poll Merino ewes.

A long involvement with industry objective measurement programs, including LAMBPLAN since the late ‘90s, has already significantly boosted profitability on his farm. As a result he is keen to make use of the new technology as soon as it becomes available, and through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) he is now DNA testing his White Suffolks stud, with plans to expand the technology out across the rest of his flock. To watch this video click here.

Download the media release below.


"Prickle Factor" - measuring the next-to-skin comfort of wool (Courtesy: ABC Landline)

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: The recent rise in wool prices may be good news for growers, but those chasing returns in super-fine and ultra-fine wool still don't believe they're getting the premium their product deserves.

One area that offers some hope is the next-to-skin clothing category, which is currently a pretty small part of the wool apparel market, partly because of wool's reputation for being a bit prickly.

But work by the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre might help change that.

More from Chris Clark.


"Future Flock" - Courtesy: ABC Landline

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: We had a brief look last week at some of the latest thinking from the lamb industry on everything from new retail cuts to animal welfare. For many, it's genetics which offers the biggest productivity gains. Producing better animals faster is the name of the game and the latest industry research offers a lot of promise. Chris Clarke takes a closer look at our national flock and its future. To watch this video click here.



"Golden Fleece" - Using ASBVs - John Symons, Kangaroo Island (Courtesy: ABC Landline)

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: The value of science and technology in the wool industry is often hotly debated, and at times, even divisive.

But the numbers are certainly adding up for South Australian grower John Symons who's turned his once unviable property on Kangaroo Island into a golden fleece.

And as Kerry Staight reports, the 12-year turnaround is more than just a personal triumph.  To watch the video click here.



Information Nucleus - A world first!

The Sheep CRC Information Nucleus is a collection of 9 flocks across diverse regions of Australia with approximately 5000 Merino and crossbred ewes joined annually to about 100 sires for 5 years.

The Dorper Information Nucleus flock site near Narrogin (WA) is now operational with assistance provided by Department of Agriculture & Food, WA staff from Katananing. To watch the video click here.



Pedigree MatchMaker wins ABC New Inventors Award

The majority of Merino breeding flocks have partial (sire only) or on record of pedigree. This is due in part to the labour intensive nature of collecting maternal pedigree (mothering-up) and the management of large numbers of individual records.

Pedigree MatchMaker offers an effective alternative method of collecting dam pedigree and when added to sire pedigree, adds substantially to the value of the information.

On 21st October 2009 the Sheep CRC's Pedigree MatchMaker product won the ABC New Inventors Award. To watch the video click here.


Sheep CRC wins award for Precision Sheep Management

Our vision has been for a more integrated production system based on measurement, management and marketing of animals according to their individual merit. Selection on merit allows management according to potential, and selling based on market specifications.

The sheep industry has an enormous opportunity for productivity gain because of the measurable variation within a flock. While large differences exist between the top 25 percent and bottom 25 percent of animals in fleece weight, fibre diameter, growth rate and reproduction, the differences in dollar value can be extreme - three to five times between the upper and lower quartiles.

PSM uses selection, management and marketing strategies to increase the value of the top 25 percent of the flock and minimise the costs of the bottom 25 percent. These new management approaches will only be realised if animals are measured for their potential level of production. To watch the video click here.