The time is right for sheep producers to capitalise on record high lamb and wool prices by investing in genetic and big data technologies which are continuing to come down in price.
The Sheep CRC has reduced the price for studs listing their catalogues on www.RamSelect.com.au, a website designed to assist ram buyers to find and rank rams based on Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) that match their own breeding objective.
It follows on from last week’s announcement of lower prices for Sheep Genotyping and DNA Flock Profile tests.
Industry engagement coordinator for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) Lu Hogan said producers had a lot of factors moving in the right direction to help them position their flocks for profit in the years ahead.
“Improved genetics is the best way to make the most of the good prices currently on offer to sheep producers and set a platform for future productivity,” Mrs Hogan said.
“By buying better rams the benefits will start to flow with the first drop of lambs. But in order to know what ‘better’ means you have to benchmark your flock or ram’s genetic merit so you know where you are starting from and exactly what genetics you are looking for at ram buying time.
“The two best ways to accurately and objectively benchmark your flock are the ram team average ASBVs available through the RamSelect, or to undertake DNA Flock Profile testing.”
With optimism in the industry and an increasing number of breeders adopting these technologies – DNA test sales have doubled in the last 12 months – stud breeders are also being encouraged not to miss out on the opportunity.
Prices for listing ram sale catalogues on RamSelect have this week been reduced to: $3/head (ex GST) for the first 50 rams listed; $1.50/hd for next 50; and $1/hd for those over 100.
“We are confident that the new pricing will encourage breeders to list large numbers of rams,” Mrs Hogan said. “This is a remarkably cheap way to advertise a stud’s offering and ensure that your genetics are being found by breeders who want them most.”
The price for a RamSelect user account – which allows producers to benchmark their ram teams and track their flock’s genetic progress against industry averages – will remain at $25/year. All producers who purchase DNA Flock Profile tests will automatically receive a free RamSelect user account for 12 months.
An account also makes it easy to keep track of the rams purchased each year and with the automated updates of ASBVs on those rams producers can manage their ram team and plan for the next ram sales.
“The turnaround time on DNA Flock Profile testing is currently around six weeks from the time of ordering the test, so commercial breeders should act now if they want to have to have the information at hand in time for the upcoming ram selling season,” Mrs Hogan said.