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SIL takes message to Romney breeders

13 June 2001

MEDIA RELEASE
IMMEDIATE

SIL takes message to Romney breeders
(About 435 words)

Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL) – the sheep industry’s genetic database – has been taking its performance recording message to Romney breeders throughout New Zealand.
The Meat New Zealand/WoolPro joint venture now plans a series of seminars for other breeders over the next six weeks.
SIL general manager, George Cruickshank, says SIL’s technology offers breeders a quantum leap in performance recording.
“Our seminars are introducing breeders to performance recording in SIL, how it works and how simple it is.
“Performance recording aims to identify which sheep are doing well because of their genes and not just because they are being well managed. It is this gene element that denotes the breeding value of an animal.
“The technology and data we have means we can identify a sheep’s breeding potential before it performs, instead of having to wait for proof after it has bred.”
Around 100 Romney breeders attended eight seminars designed to introduce them to performance recording and how to use SIL’s services to analyse that data.
Cruickshank says many breeders are already recording much of the information needed for them to use the SIL service and many could use SIL’s services immediately.
“However, some of them might need to record data for other characteristics before SIL really becomes useful to them. For instance, a breeder might be recording mating and birth data and weaning weights. They could also record the animal’s weight at eight or 12 months or hogget fleece weight.


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“SIL would then use that data to calculate breeding values for their animals.”
Southland ram breeder Peter Wishart, who attended the Southland Romney seminar, says the New Zealand sheep industry’s time has come.
“It’s an exciting time and the opportunity SIL offers breeders is dynamic.”
The SIL program incorporates three previous schemes, Studfax, AnimalPlan and FlockLinc, into a combined database and state-of-the-art genetic engine that analyses performance data against data from other breeders.
The main benefit of the SIL recording system for a breeder is to identify an animal’s breeding value.
Cruickshank says SIL’s breeding values allow breeders to provide commercial farmer clients with accurate predictions of what a ram is capable of, as well as letting breeders compare and improve their own flock genetics with that of other like-minded breeders.
SIL is aiming to have at least 600 breeders using the system by September of this year, with another 150 on-board over the next two years.

Upcoming SIL breeders’ seminars:
Monday 25 June Te Kuiti Hotel, Rora St, Te Kuiti
Tuesday 26 June Wool Testing Authority Building, Napier
Wednesday 27 June Marton Hotel, Marton
Thursday 28 June Copthorne Resort, Masterton
Monday 9 July Airport Plaza, Christchurch
Tuesday 10 July Federated Farmers, Ashburton
Wednesday 11 July Rosebank Lodge, Balclutha
Thursday 12 July James Cumming Wing, Gore
Friday 13 July Commercial Hotel, Winton

[ends]
For more information, contact:
George Cruickshank, SIL general manager, tel 06-833 7230.
For a portrait photo of George, or a group shot of George, Peter Wishart and Aaron Meikle, please contact greer@wham.co.nz

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