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.


  • 21 September 2017

    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

  • 27 July 2017

    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

  • 8 September 2017

    Most of us benchmark our flock by eye; comparing our sheep with our neighbours' animals across the fence, or when talking with other farmers.

  • 6 September 2017

    Wool growers can achieve their breeding objectives by retaining superior breeding stock and by choosing superior rams.

  • 7 September 2017

    Agriculture is responsible for 14% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and is the dominant source of methane and nitrous oxide, accounting for 56% and 73%, respectively, of Australia’s emission

  • 7 September 2017

    Techniques to reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions may also increase livestock productivity and resilience.

  • 22 August 2017

    The Agriculture and Food Division of the Department of Primary industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) provides information on carbon farming related policy, legislation and science, to identif

  • 31 July 2017

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

  • 30 June 2017

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

  • 30 June 2017

    The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) carries out genetic research in sheep and contributes to developing modern tools to assist breeders in their success to breed bette