The 18-month trial was conducted by DAFWA and the Federation of Performance Sheep Breeders WA under the requirements of the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association.
It assessed the progeny of 12 WA sires and one from NSW which acted as a ‘link’ sire to other AMSEA trials running across Australia.
Sheep genetics development officer Meghan England said trials compared the breeding performance of the different sires by evaluating their progeny.
Held at the department’s research facilities in Mt Barker and Katanning, sires were mated through artificial insemination to an equal allocation of ewes and had an average of 32 progeny each.
“The trials assessed each sire’s breeding performance for a large number of wool and meat traits which are important to breeders, and enable participants to compare Australian Sheep Breeding Values,” England said.
“This included weaning, yearling and hogget growth rates and carcase traits such as eye muscle depth and fat depth.
“Fleece traits such as fleece weight, fibre diameter, staple length and staple strength, among others, were also measured.
“Visual traits included wool colour and character, fleece rot, dust penetration, staple weathering, staple structure, fibre and non-fibre pigmentation, face cover, body wrinkle, breech cover, confirmation of feet/legs/back/shoulder/jaw and dag.”
The full report of the Yardstick ‘2015 Drop Hogget Assessment’ can be found on the AMSEA website.