After eliminating potential candidates for any significant structural and mobility faults our approach is to select a balanced team of sires with as much pedigree diversity and performance as we can find. Mostly the second part isn’t easy! We also look for AI sires that will link us well to the rest of the Sheep Genetics database as well as the Resource Flock.
Looking at this list you might ask, why are they using that ram, his bwt is too high, his pfat is too low etc. The set of figures the sire has isn’t always the set of numbers a lamb producer wants to buy. We match asbvs between sire and dam in our mating program, ie we match the high bwt sire to a low bwt ewe to hopefully end up with a lamb in the right range for bwt for the lamb producer to buy. At the same time we hopefully can capture all the traits the high bwt sire had that were good. It doesn’t always work, but it is a bit like picking the favourite in a horse race.
We’re very excited by the average of the team we have put together. rather than get hung up on how great one sire is, we aim to get a diverse and balanced team of sires, as the team will breed to the average, and diversity will give us options in sires lines to help reduce co-ancestry and inbreeding.
AI/ET sire from last year, Old Woombi 120135 has clicked well with our ewes, and we have used 3 sons by him this year. Felix 161073 (semen available) is currently the number 1 sire in Australia on Carcase Plus with over 444 progeny in 11 flocks, including the Resource Flock, and over 300 progeny scanned in 8 flocks. His asbvs have remained remarkably consistent with how he tested as lamb, and after his first progeny were scanned by us. We’re also excited with the prospects of 180201 (by 170101). he is the number 2018 drop ram currently on Carcase Plus index. He gave us quite a scare between scanning and when we chose him as a young sire. He developed a significant swelling next to his anus, initially diagnosed as a hernia that nothing could be done about, but fortunately it was only an abscess that was able to be drained and he has recovered well. He’s out with 37 ewes.
NB. Carcase Plus IS NOT our selection index, but it is an index that lamb producers tend to look at.