Genetic Progress is driven by objective measurement and indexing because it is:
• Proven • Effective • Rapid
Whilst people continue to dispute and not implement ASBVs and indexes, our flock continues to evolve and become more profitable largely due to their influence. The flock we had ten years ago is vastly different to the flock we have now. The flock we have in ten years will be vastly different to our current flock.
Basically our sheep will be finer, heavier cutting, have heavier body weights and be more worm resistant. We know this because our previous ten years on an index landed us basically where we wanted to be, when we developed it ten years ago.
The Power of Indexes
In the past, the 14%+SS index has driven our breeding program. Believing that it best mirrored our objectives of aggressively decreasing micron, increasing wool cut and body weight and assisting us to maintain other important traits such as staple strength and fertility.
In 2012 after Sheep genetics changed their indexes, we decided to re-evaluate our genetic direction. Based on what the industry offered and what the market signals were telling us, we decided to go it alone with a custom index - Y- 7/15.
Selection: Population Genetics + Objective Measurement = Genetic Gain on Steroids!
To accelerate genetic progress Yalgoo chooses to tap into the much larger genetic pool of the commercial ewe flock. Each year 500 weaner ewes are selected on their micron, CV and their potential fleece weight (visually) from a drop of 3000 weaner ewes. These ewes are then physically fleece and body weighed at shearing. Their data is collated and they are given an index ranking based on their genetic merit. The top half of these join the stud ewe nucleus. Prior to their first lamb there are re-tested and fleece weighed and ranked against the other stud ewes to see if they remain in the stud flock.
To ensure genetic progress is rapid the ram breeding flock is re-ranked annually. Competition to remain in the flock based on performance is cut-throat and generally half of the flock is replaced with genetically superior maiden ewes.
The stud ewes are also subjectively classed by Dr. Phil Holmes annually to remove any economic fault. With a specific eye on fleece rot, dermatitis, pigment, muffle and structure. Ewes are also removed if they have failed to raise a lamb until lamb marking for consecutive years.
Yalgoo Genetic Trend VS Superfine Flock
Objective Measurement Summary
Event || Time || Notes
DNA typing || April || Selected commercial ewes are DNA typed for parentage. This allows us to better evaluate their genetic merit.
Micron Testing OFDA || June || Entire commercial drop of weaners are micron & CV tested. Sheep are subjectively classed to possible enter ram breeding core.
Side Sampling NEFT || July || Stud weaners are side sampled for Micron, Yield, SS, SL, Curvature and CV.
Fleece Weighing || September || All stud and selected weaners are fleece weighed. Stud ewe hoggets are fleece weighed for a second time.
Body Weighing || September || All stud and selected weaners are body weighed off shears. Stud ewe hoggets are fleece weighed for a second time.
Worm collecting || June || Faecal egg counts are taken on weaner rams to evaluate their resistance to worms.
Mothering Up || November || Pedigrees are recorded for stud lambs to increase linkage and accuracy of genetic merit.