Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre (TAIC) is again at the cutting edge of Australian agricultural research, hosting a Satellite Flock under the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Resource Flock Database, collecting data on DNA predictions.
FarmLink Research and Murray Long of Clear View Consulting, who conducts the livestock operations at TAIC, are excited about the announcement of TAIC as a Satellite Flock site, important not only for the centre, but for the future of the sheep industry.
Mr Long gained the contract to conducted the project on behalf of TAIC and FarmLink, following on from his long association with Sheep CRC. He will manage the TAIC Satellite Flock of 230 White Suffolk ewes, which will be joined in February using Artificial Insemination to a selection of Poll Dorset, White Suffolk, Southdown and Suffolk sires that have been nominated and selected from studs throughout the industry.
Extensive measurement will be conducted on the lambs produced from this joining. They will be sent to a processor where a range of carcase evaluations will be conducted including Lean Meat yield, Intra muscular fat, tenderness, fatty acid profile and nutritional content, and this information will be fed into the MLA funded Resource Flock Database.
FarmLink Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Cassidy, said the association with Clear View Consulting provided FarmLink with the perfect opportunity to further develop its strength in livestock research, development and extension.
“With Murray developing one of the first Satellite Flocks under the MLA Resource Flock Database, it is a wonderful opportunity for FarmLink to be involved in exciting research which will not only benefit our members, but the sheep industry Australia-wide,” Ms Cassidy said.
“A lot of our members include livestock as an important part of their farming operation, and we strive to be involved in the research, development and extension of projects which will allow them to improve efficiency and productivity with an eye on long term sustainability.
“Murray Long is very highly regarded in the sheep industry, and having him managing the Satellite Flock will be invaluable. We look forward to Murray embarking upon this new project very soon, with the ewes to be joined next month.”
Mr Long explained the Resource Flock was formerly the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus Flock (INF) that was the basis for the development of genomic testing covering the range of traits that is now available for use within the industry, including hard to measure traits such as those relating to Meat Eating Quality.
“It is now funded by MLA to ensure continuation beyond Sheep CRC and on to 2020 and is essential in maintaining the future of DNA predictions for all the traits being evaluated, especially the hard to measure traits.
“These flocks are the ‘sheep behind the research’ and 150 new young sires are tested each year. The information or DNA predictions need to be continually updated to maintain the accuracy of the relationships between the prediction and the actual trait being measured, especially as new young sires are introduced into the sheep flock.”
The Resource Flocks are managed by the University of New England at Armidale (Kirby) and by the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, at Katanning.
“The development of a Satellite Flock is the vision of the future where research stations and commercial operations work together to provide valuable information along with the opportunities to provide additional research opportunities into other areas. Once the concept is tested, it may be expanded to include a wider range of commercial operations,” Mr Long explained.
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