As a result, ram buyers and breeders will have access to even better genetic information, when making breeding decisions.
B+LNZ Genetics general manager Graham Alder says the upgrade will provide more accurate and timely information for both commercial farmers and ram breeders.
Introducing the “New Zealand Genetic Evaluation”
“At the core of the upgrade is the move to a single weekly New Zealand Genetic Evaluation – the NZGE. The investment means we are able to run evaluations more regularly and much faster, thereby feeding information back to ram breeders in a more timely fashion.
“The NZGE evaluations are able to draw on information, therefore providing a more accurate estimate of traits, such as carcase merit.
“Furthermore, there will be only ‘one version of the truth’, in terms of breeding values (BVs) for animals. At the moment, there can be several BVs for a single animal, due to different evaluations having different combinations of flocks and parameters.”
Standard indexes for commercial farmers
With commercial farmers in mind, B+LNZ Genetics has also developed two “standard indexes”, which will make ram selection much easier.
New Zealand Maternal Worth (NZMW) and New Zealand Terminal Worth (NZTW) draw on the core traits relevant to maternal flocks (Reproduction, Survival, Growth, Adult Size and Wool) and terminal flocks (Survival, Growth and Meat Yield). There is also the option to add specialist traits, such as facial eczema or WormFEC.
“Farmers should ask their breeders for these maternal and terminal worth figures, when selecting rams. It will clearly indicate which animal is superior – a higher figure equates to a better ram,” Mr Alder says.