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Welcome to the news page for
PENDARRA WHITE SUFFOLK STUD and PERFORMANCE plus GENETICS.
We will frequently use this page as a notice board to let you know what is happening within our stud and allow new visitors to our site to see some of the highlights over the past few years.
Much has been talked about genetic fat recently and its relationship to a number of traits in sheep, not least of all eating quality. Since day one, the breeding objective at Pendarra has been not to consistently chase excessively lean genetics and this has led to significant gains in many areas of our breeding program. New information in relation to genetic fatness is coming to light which further reinforces the decisions we made right back when the trend in the industry was to get leaner and leaner. Genetic fatness has been linked to improved robustness and do ability, improving the number of lambs born, improving lamb survival and weaner survival,improved fertility and higher meat eating quality. There is no doubt the lamb industry over shot the runway in relation to leanness and the current genetic trend in terminal sires is beginning to show a tendency away from leaner animals.
We are always trialing different breeding strategies and this year we used a couple of sires that contained distinct breeding lines of leaner genetics than we would normally select. The results on lamb survival were quite surprising though not unexpected;
Lamb survival from genetically fatter sires; 163% lambing - 83% survival to marking
Lamb survival from leaner genetics; 161% lambing - 65% survival to marking
In a commercial situation this will make a huge difference to profitability and vindicates the decisions we made at the founding of our stud not to consistently use lean genetics. We included these leaner genetics this year for good sound reasons and are confident that the ewe progeny will provide a good base to move forward from and will definitely be joined to the Langley Heights 100160 line of sires we have that are showing outstanding levels of performance and genetic fat.
We also received some very interesting information regarding the conception rates in a stud that has been purchasing our ewes; once again relating to genetic fat. The conception rates from the Pendarra genetics in their stud over a very condensed joining period was 88% compared to 65% from ewes bred within that stud where they had been sourcing leaner genetics over a period of time. All but a few of the unjoined ewes subsequently conceived when the joining period was extended and there was no difference between the percentage lambs in utero (180%) between the origin of genetics. This indicates that higher genetic fat levels in ewes results in faster and a more condensed joining. This mirrors a finding we found many years ago when we first used Leawarra 990940 who currently has an ASBV of 1.4 for fat. We found almost all his daughters were in lamb after the first 2 cycles resulting in all lambs dropped over a very short period of time, not to mention their great milking capacity and do ability with their lambs always looking healthy.
Our breeding strategy will always remain focused in improving the do ability and survival of lambs and sheep in less than ideal commercial conditions and we know that the advantages of moderate levels of genetic fat are essential in this objective; improved meat eating quality is just one positive spin off of this goal.
Bred Well Fed Well Workshop
We will be hosting a Bred Well Fed Well Workshop on August 16th starting at 9.30 am. The free workshop focuses on improving ewe nutrition, developing breeding goals and a feed budget and the use of ASBV's to achieve these initiatives. A great day is assured with some very good speakers and plenty of information for all sheep producers. For further information go to www.makingmorefromsheep.com.au
With our ewes consistently in peak condition over recent years, lambing is progressing well this year with very healthy lambs being born that are slightly heavier than recent years reflecting the good seasonal conditions. We are relieved that we are not experiencing the number of multiple births that 2011 produced when we finished up with a 189% lambing percentage with 73 sets of triplets. Thankfully we are back to 150-160% lambing this year. The floods early in March have provided a good cover of feed in several paddocks although at the time, we could have done without kilometers of damaged fencing and sheep puddling through water for a period of time. While the ewes have benefited from the feed, the rams were checked after standing in water for over a week which presented a few issues that were eventually solved.
A strange country
It doesn't seem too long ago that we posted photos of a dust storm during a drought that seemed to hang around longer than required. The first week of March saw a weather event we have never experienced in our part of the land, almost 250mm of rain in less than a week. The consequences were devastating and we were left with one paddock that would hold sheep as fences were washed away. Around 75% of the property was flooded for 5 days however the sheep seemed to cope reasonably well although I suspect it had an adverse effect on or AI ewes with conception down on previous years.
Thanks to Blaze Aid we have managed to re-establish the boundary fences and have most of the internal fences are being fixed as required. Hope we do not have to put up with this type of disaster too many times. On reflection, I think drought was a better option.
Our commitment to testing our young sires through the Sheep CRC program has continued with 22 young sires being DNA tested as part of the Pilot Program 2. A further 10 sires are being tested which will result in all the young sires we intend to use next year having Research Breeding Values (RBV's) on meat yield and eating quality. Altogether we have close to 50 sires DNA tested. In addition to these young sires, 8 of our sires were sourced for the Information Nucleus flock and Pendarra 075630 has been in high demand for a range of eating quality trials along with a son of his, Pendarra 096981. Pendarra 075630 has outstanding meat eating quality RBV's and it is pleasing to note that many of these traits are being passed onto his progeny.
The average meat eating quality RBV's of all our 2011 ram lambs tested is outstanding but there is enough variation to allow some selection based on these RBV's. Our breeding program now has a new additional area to focus on and we will be utilising all available findings of the Sheep CRC to ensure that the genetics we produce, not only have the traits that ensure high profitability to commercial producers but also provide superior meat eating quality characteristics for the ultimate end user...the consumer. We feel that the future direction of the lamb industry will be focusing in the area of eating quality and nutrition and we are right there at the cutting edge with the genetics to ensure we maintain our high standing.
It is also pleasing to note that the analysis of the RBV's are reinforcing the measured ASBV's (Growth, fat, muscle) and providing figures that are better than the current ASBV values, especially for a few rams that have limited progeny on the ground. The future for DNA testing will more than likely provide information on meat nutrition and who knows what else so we look forward to gaining a better insight into the genetics we are developing.
RBV's for Pendarra 075630
Main indicators of eating quality = Tenderness (shearf5) and Intra Muscular Fat (imf)
& Diane Long
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White Suffolk Stud