The Border Mail

Dohne sires under evaluation

INDUSTRY SIGNIFICANCE: ADBA sire evaluation sub committee members Allan Casey, Don Mills and John Nadin, site manager Jim Meckiff, Coonong Station owners Tom and Sophie Holt and Coonong staff Miguel Moniz and Maria Nikorloric.

This is branded content for the Australian Dohne Breeders' Association.

THE Dohne breed is undertaking its first sire evaluation in Australia, and sheep producers have the opportunity to see the breed in action at the Coonong sire evaluation field day on June 22.

The event, held at host property Coonong Station, Urana, NSW, will give attendees an update on three-year project, which aims to generate highly accurate Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) on a wide range of traits used by Dohne and Merino sheep breeders.

"To do this, flock breeding values will first be generated for the sire evaluation using the physical data collected at the trial site and accounting for known environmental effects such as birth type," site manager Jim Meckiff said.

Almost every trait or measurement possible for dual purpose sheep will be performed on the progeny, with the wether lambs used to generate meat eating quality breeding values and the ewe portion to be joined twice to inform hogget and adult reproduction ASBVs.

Fifteen sires from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW, ranging from 2013-drop to 2018-drop rams, are being evaluated, including three link sires - one Dohne and two Poll Merinos - which connect this Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association site to other sites around Australia including the AWI Merino Lifetime Productivity project at Balmoral 2015 and 2016, Merinolink Boorowa 2019, Balmoral 2015, 2017 and 2020, Merinolink 2015, Nth East Vic 2015 and South Australia 2017.

"The AMSEA sire evaluation design uses link sires which allows for genetic comparisons to be made across Australia in very different environments and across different years," Mr Meckiff said.

"We can also compare the performance of the Dohne genetics to Poll Merino genetics that have excellent linkage to the broader MerinoSelect analysis along with high accuracy ASBVs.

"Dohne sires have been included in AMSEA sites over many years with one or two entrants however this sites has 13 Dohne Sires and gives breeders an opportunity to compare Dohne sires to each other as well as the Merino link sires.

"The large scale and volume of data will greatly enhance Dohne ASBV accuracy and linkage to the MerinoSelect Dohne database."

DOHNE BREED PROJECT: Lamb marking in July 2021. The Dohne sire evaluation is focused on collecting data to produce highly accurate ASBVs.

Among the speakers at the open day will be host Tom Holt, Don Mills from the Australian Dohne Breeders' Association, and Sophie Holt, from Ethical Outback Wool, who will speak about the unique processing qualities of Dohne wool.

Mr Meckiff, JM Livestock, and AMSEA executive officer Ben Swain will on hand to speak about the project and give visitors a report on the sires' performance so far.

The project began in January 2021 and data has been collected over the past 11 months for analysis by Sheep Genetics to provide the flock breeding values for the Dohne AMSEA site report, which will be updated as more data becomes available after major events or age stages are completed.

"The wethers lambs have been grain supplemented to improve weight gain and reach target weights pre slaughter," Mr Meckiff said.

"Once processed at Gundagai Meat Processors the complete data set including information gathered to inform the MLA meat eating quality resource flock will be submitted for analysis to Sheep Genetics.

"Meat eating quality breeding values displayed at the field day will include intramuscular fat and lean meat yield.

"These will enhance the accuracy of ASBVs for meat eating quality traits for the sires in the trial."

EVALUATING DOHNE SIRES: Classing of the 2021-drop ADBA sire evaluation wether progeny was conducted at Coonong Station in February.

The ewe progeny will be shorn in July then mated in line with the Coonong flock in spring as hoggets.

"These ewes will be pregnancy scanned and lambs tagged, and DNA sampled to verify dam pedigree," Mr Meckiff said.

"The process is anticipated to run for two progeny joinings along with visual assessment and wool and fibre measurements."

The field day runs from 10am to 3pm on June 22, with visitors asked to arrive at 9.30am. Visit www.trybooking.com/BZQYL to book online.

For more information on the project, please contact Jim Meckiff by emailing jamesmeckiff@gmail.com or calling 0428 332 280.

This is branded content for the Australian Dohne Breeders' Association.