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Hannaton 2019 Newsletter

for all the latest on what we have been up to at Hannaton

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Hannaton clients SA trial win

Hannaton genetics have once again shown their value in commercial trials

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Performance Recording and ASBV's at Hannaton

Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV's) are designed to be used to compare the genetic potential of animals, independent of their environment and location. At Hannaton Merinos we are passionate about breeding the best performing commercial genetics for our clients. Our focus is on increasing productivity and profitability in all areas of sheep production.  We manage all our stock to commercial conditions and expect them to perform in commercial conditions.  With this in mind the obvious step is to move into ASBV's to better aid us and our clients in identifying the best genetics to meet our breeding objectives. Any extra information we can use to make better decisions is always helpful but at Hannaton visual assesment and structural conformation comes first

To start collecting background data for our ASBV's the 2013 drop ewe weaners were all run in one management mob from weaning. This means any data collected is an accurate representation of their genetic potential.  They are weighed at weaning, 6 months and 12 months to measure growth rate.  We also measure their eye muscle depth and fat depth at 12 months to identify faster maturing and better doing sheep.  They are run together untill shearing in September where they are all individually wool tested and fleece weighed to give us a clean fleece weight and micron testing from every animal.  All this data will help provide us with information on their commercial performance as well as the performance of their sires.  This data is then used to aid in classing and identifying top performing sires to use in the stud. 

Eye Muscle and Fat Depth Measuring

Eye Muscle and Fat Depth Measurement - June 2014 In July we measured every ewe weaner for Eye Muscle Depth and Fat Depth at the C site as well as body weight.  To the left you see Steve Milne hard at work measuring our 2013 drop ewe weaners.

Research from MLA and the Sheep CRC indicate that selecting a ram with a more positive eye muscle depth can


- Produce lambs with greater muscling and the potential for higher yielding carcasses

-Produce progeny with a higher proportion of their carcass weight in the more valuable loin and hind quarter area of the carcass

The fat depth taken at this site is also strongly related to fat depth at the GR site, which is the site measured on animals at slaughter. Recent studies also show a highly positive corelation for animals positive for fat and increased numbers of lambs weaned


 Fleece Weight and Wool Testing

In September we take a mid side sample from the ewes and record their greasy fleece weight. The ewe weaners are measured with 10 months wool growth and recorded direct to the computer.  The use of elecronic tags and a bluetooth tag reader makes this process so much easier for us.

Tags are scanned and all the animals information comes up straight to the computer including any previous classing or comments and all its genetic information.

All this information is then sent to Sheep Genetics Australia to be assesed and is then sent back in the form of an ASBV's to help us identify top performing animals and genteics

Mothering up using Pedigree Matchmaker

This year we will be trialling a Pedigree MatchMaker system to mother up lambs in the paddock. Pedigree MatchMaker is an electronic system which can determine with a high degree of accuracy which lamb belongs to which ewe.

It uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags to measure data about the proximity of particular lambs to particular ewes as they pass through a gate to a water source. 

In the past we have only had sire infomation on pedigree and haven't been identifying dams due to the intensive labour required for mothering up. We hope by collecting dam information it will help us better identify top performing ewes and genetics to use and recommend to our clients. It will also help us remove any ewes that are not performing to our studs breeding objectives.