The genetic selection app RamSelect was a key plank of the promotional platform for the Ella Matta White Suffolk and Merino stud which recorded its best-ever sale results late last year.
The Kangaroo Island stud recorded its highest grossing sale, its highest ever top-priced ram at $16,000, and an improved overall average of $1459/ram, despite increasing its sale offering by more than 10% to 200 White Suffolks, 40 Poll Merino and 40 Maternal Composite rams.
Ella Matta stud principal Jamie Heinrich said the app was an important part of the stud’s promotional activities and offered a great way of providing buyers with detailed information on each ram listed.
“We put the full catalogues on RamSelect and we saw value in doing that because it gave our clients a good way to compare rams to meet their specific needs. Sorting through 200 rams without the assistance of RamSelect can be a daunting task,” Mr Heinrich said.
RamSelect is an easy-to-use web-based app, www.ramselect.com.au, which allows ram buyers to find and rank rams based on Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) that match their own breeding objective.
First released in 2015 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), RamSelect has proven to be an extremely valuable tool for both ram sellers and sheep breeders, with around 17,600 rams from 224 catalogues listed during the 2016 season – approximately 10% of the national ram market.
“Commercial buyers find the site much, much easier for identifying rams of interest than sorting through spreadsheets of ASBV data,” Mr Heinrich said. “And the recent upgrades to the app are a big improvement on the original RamSelect.”
This season the Sheep CRC moved to a cost-recovery model to ensure RamSelect’s continued delivery and ongoing improvements, with modest charges now in place for ram breeders listing their rams and for commercial producers to set up an account to manage and analyse their genetic progress.
“Our marketing strategy included using RamSelect as well as AuctionsPlus so that commercial ram buyers could search the catalogue and bid online. It was a valuable marketing tool and gave buyers all the information they needed on each ram listed for sale.”
The strategy worked, with the sale attracting more than 50 local buyers, some of whom turned up with their preferred ram lists already printed out, as well as online bidders from three different states.
Ella Matta has successfully used objective genetic selection tools, including ASBVs and more recently DNA testing, to enhance the quality of its flock, with more than 70% of its White Suffolk offering in the top 10% of the LAMBPLAN database for the lamb eating quality (LEQ) index.