There has been an influx of breeders subscribing to Sheep Genetics during 2020. If you are yet to join LAMBPLAN, we have outlined what is needed for you to get involved.
Having your flock in LAMBPLAN is the only way to make faster genetic gain and use tools like genomics.
LAMBPLAN delivers Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). You can use ASBVs for getting faster rates of genetic gain in your flock but also as a tool to help sell rams. Increasingly ram buyers are focusing on studs that supply data.
So what are the steps to getting ASBVs on your sheep?
1: Is my flock ready to join?
We do our best to make services work for everyone. Although there are some requirements that need to be met so that you can submit quality data to LAMBPLAN.
The first of those is having pedigree recorded. LAMBPLAN is a genetic evaluation so having the sire and dam recorded on all lambs is important. Ideally you would have a couple of generations of pedigree recorded however starting with the current drop will be okay. There are various methods for recording pedigree, but most LAMBPLAN breeders chose to single sire mate and mother-up at birth. This allows them to get important information like date-of-birth and birth weight as well. DNA parentage is becoming more affordable and is an alternative.
Another consideration is about effective numbers of progeny. At least two different rams must sire the current drop of progeny. This allows us to separate the genetic differences within your environment. If you have a small flock, you can still get effective numbers by managing them as one group and having a tight lambing period of less than 35 days.
The final requirement is linkage which is important for allowing ASBVs to be compared across flocks throughout the country. Linkage means using a ram from another LAMBPLAN flock that have relatives recorded. Your sheep can only receive ASBVs for a trait if they have linkage. Unlinked flocks will receive their results for with-in flock use only, called Flock Breeding Values (FBVs). Not everyone has linkage when they start out with LAMBPLAN. Chat to us about your flock’s situation.
2: How do I sign up?
Pick up the phone or send us an email to discuss your breeding program with us. We will be able to guide you through the next steps. When your flock is ready to start, complete a subscription form (available on our website) and submit it. Your Sheep Genetics flock code will be the same as your breed society flock number or we can assign one for unregistered flocks.
It won’t cost you anything to sign up to Sheep Genetics or submit data because of MLA’s Accelerated Adoption Initiative. This runs until November 2021 for Sheep Genetics membership and services.
The normal fee schedule is available on our website.
3: How do I submit data?
Every fortnight we run the entire analysis to update the ASBVs on all animals. LAMBPLAN runs are started on the 1st and 14th of every month (or the Friday before), check our website for exact dates.
You can make a submission to through one of the five software options, BreedElite, MacroStock, Practical Systems Stockbook, Sapien KoolPerform or Pedigree Master. Each of the software vary in their features. It is worth doing your homework to work out which one suits your needs. Pedigree Master is free to use but does not come with any support services included.
You can ensure that your data is in good order with help from our team, the breeders guide and through the software. Each recording software comes with validation features to help identify mistakes. You will also be sent a Breeder’s Guide that outlines recording in more details for every trait. Any other questions about entering data can be ran by us at Sheep Genetics.
If data entry into a software program is not your thing, there are many private data managers who can submit data on your behalf. Check out the “Service Providers” tab on our website for a list of trained data managers. Some of these Service Providers will also be able to offer support with other aspects of your stud as well.
4: Receive your results
Sheep Genetics deliver results to the web and by email within ten working days of the run date. It is optional to have your sheep and their ASBVs displayed on the web.
You can use these results to assess where your flock sits compared to others, set breeding goals and select better sheep. ASBVs will be delivered for every sheep that you submit provided that the trait is recorded enough.
From our website, you can make sale or semen catalogues and print pen cards with ASBVs and indexes.
5: Making use of tools
By this stage you will have ticked off some major steps to improving your flock. How you use the ASBVs and indexes will make the biggest difference though.
Selecting sheep using the indexes and ASBVs provided will give you the greatest results. The indexes provide a balanced way to select sheep for multiple traits. They are the most efficient selection method in breeding. You can read more about our indexes on the Sheep Genetics website. Many studs use their genetic gain reports to demonstrate to clients that they are making progress across important traits.
You can couple selection with the use of genomics to get better information for hard to measure traits. Strategic use of genomics enables you to select ram lambs that will pass on favourable carcase attributes as well on farm traits. It’s a great way to balance the breeding program across many important traits.
Another great tool that you can exploit is MateSel, which ensures steady genetic gain without increasing inbreeding. MateSel saves hours of studying sheep to allocate matings. It also provides you accurate predictions of the next drop so that you can ensure you are meeting goals. Ask the Sheep Genetics team about signing up to a workshop.
The final big win from LAMBPLAN is better marketing exposure. Clever ram buyers are looking to make their purchases with measured performance. Make use of our sales and semen catalogues or print pen cards to display the genetic merit of sheep at sales and shows.
Where do I find out more?
For more information about ASBVs and indexes visit the MLA Genetics hub here.