First a fleece value boost now meat gain for Merinos

Merinos from the QPLU$ flock at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Trangie Agricultural Research Station.
Merinos from the QPLU$ flock at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Trangie Agricultural Research Station.

Genetic information from a selective breeding program to improve fleece value will find a secondary use to enhance Merino meat quality.

Data from the Trangie Agricultural Research Station (ARS) QPLU$ flock focused on fleece value but also measured other traits including carcase quality and quantity.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Merino breeding project officer, Tracie Bird-Gardiner, said that given the increasing value of sheepmeat to the revenue of wool enterprises, the relationship between selection for fleece traits and carcase traits was significant.

“While effects on carcase traits were generally small, some were significant but most changes didn’t affect carcase prices,” Ms Bird-Gardiner said.

A Meat & Livestock Australia trial at Trangie ARS has measured the carcases of more than 1900 two-tooth rams from the QPLU$ selection lines during the last three years.

“We now know that any negative change can be corrected using a selection index which includes carcase traits.”

Orange-based NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Pat Taylor with some of the QPLU$ Merino flock at Trangie.
Orange-based NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Pat Taylor with some of the QPLU$ Merino flock at Trangie.

The first economic analysis of the QPLU$ trial data will première at a field day at Trangie ARS on Thursday June 7.

Results from the fleece and carcase trials will also be presented at this final QPLU$ field day.

The QPLU$ flock, established in 1992 to demonstrate the improvements possible in improving fleece value using index selection on measured traits, has been a major investment in the future profitability of Merinos by the NSW DPI and Australian Wool Innovation.

Selection lines were created to meet a range of breeding objectives within the fine, medium and broad wool strains.

Merino producers can contact Tracie Bird-Gardiner (02) 6880 8021 for more QPLU$ information and field day details.

 

Photographs are available from bernadette.york@dpi.nsw.gov.au