Genetics & selection

Genetic improvement is a major factor contributing to the profitability of production systems for livestock and poultry. Breeding and selection have resulted in significant economic gains in beef, lamb, wool, milk, pork, egg and chicken production.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) hosts the Genetic Resource flock funded by Meat and Livestock Australia and the breech strike and worm resistant Rylington Merino flocks funded by Australian Wool Innovation Ltd. These flocks make use of measurement, modern statistical methods and DNA technologies to estimate breeding values for traits such as disease resistance, meat quality and reproduction that otherwise are difficult and expensive to measure. Outputs are used by sheep breeders through nationally recognised programs such as Lambplan and Merinoselect, to genetically improve meat and wool production from robust, easy care sheep.

DAFWA also advises the local beef and dairy industries on genetic improvement programs in co-operation with Beefplan and Dairy Australia. Genetic improvement in the poultry and pig industries are mainly carried out by the private industry with input from research groups nationally and internationally.

Articles

  • The adoption of genetic technologies activity is part of the Sheep Industry Business Innovation project and is currently providing a range of tools that will help sheep producers introduce genetic

  • RamSelect and Bred Well Fed Well workshops aim to increase your confidence in ram selection and purchase through utilising Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) to assist you in buying the right

  • Artificial breeding is the use of technologies such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer. Artificial insemination (AI) involves placing semen directly into the uterus.

  • Lost productivity due to drench resistance in sheep worms has been recognised as a widespread problem in Western Australia (WA) since the 1980s.

  • The Information Nucleus Flock was established by the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre in 2007 to transform wool and meat production of the Australian sheep industry to develop more accurate breedi

  • There are a number of factors that may contribute to pigs having high backfat (P2) and therefore graded fatter than what is required by the market.

  • The genetic potential of pigs can have a major influence on the productivity and profitability of a pig enterprise.

  • Weaning percentage and therefore conception rate, can significantly influence profitability in the breeder herd.

  • Cattle producers regularly make visual assessments of their cattle.

  • Carbon farming is the process of changing agricultural practices or land use to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil and vegetation (sequestration) and to reduce greenhouse gas emission