Disciplined selection for well muscled hardy sheep with locked in performance and excellent constitution.
- SIL and Studfax performance recorded.
- Fertility- Pahiwi recorded ewes are consistently scanning over 185% and docking over 160% (ewes to ram), for our clients fertility has been a key selection trait. -2014 scanning saw the recorded MA and 2 tooth flocks average 186% and dock 161% ewes to ram. All ewe hoggets are mated with preg scan data included on SIL selection lists.
- Survival- All recorded lambs are tagged at birth, we have placed emphasis on scoring ewes for mothering ability which has been recorded since Pat Tennent established the flock in 1956. Scanning multiples ensures accurate data on live lambs at birth, this data is then uploaded into SIL to generate breeding values. For studs that aren’t scanning ewes, the SIL survival bv’s become inaccurate as they cannot record which ewes may have lost lambs. We tag in paddocks ranging from easy to steep terrain, a test for ewes mothering and lamb survival.
- Growth rate- weaning weight is a key driver in farm profitability. We select for fast growth for early maturity and hogget mating potential. We record all weaning weights, Autumn weights and Winter weights across ewe and ram lambs. Our genetic trend graphs are showing solid progress is being made here.
- Meat yield- through a large scale progeny trial focusing on growth and meat yield we have been able to bench mark our progress in this area. Results from the trial over the last 8 years have shown Pahiwi progeny to be consistent performers. The info from 5 k, ultrasound scanning, and the NGE lists also adds more data to our selection.
- Wool- we keep a handle on wool quality and select for a medium bulky type. Ram hogget fleeces are weighed at July shearing to generate fleece weight breeding values.
- Parasite tolerance- we have taken a direct approach here by not drenching adult ewes since 2009, with the last drench as 2 tooths pre tup. As breeders we need to challenge our stock to ensure we are identifying those top performers and culling anything that doesn’t measure up. We are Worm FEC testing our Romney ram lambs in the Autumn to select for parasite resistance through Techion Group.
- Dag scoring- using SIL dag score best practice techniques we have begun putting some data around breeding sheep with less dags. Scores are collected at weaning on all lambs and again in Autumn on all lambs.
- Facial excema- we have been steadily breeding FE tolerance into our flock, with the clear goal of retaining the other traits we have worked to hard on. This began with the purchase of an FE tested sire in 2008 from NZ’s leading FE flock (based on SILACE). Since then we have steadily increased the number of FE tested sires used in the flock. The group of rams with FE tolerance in their background are identified prior to sale time, so that clients can select sheep that are either sired by or out of ewes by FE rams. Our short term goal is to begin Ram Guard testing to guage our progress while maintaining progress in other traits. See more on FE in the Sheep 5 k info.
- Footrot resistance- since 2006 we have DNA tested all new sires used for Footrot resistance through the Linclon University GeneMarker Lab. We are now at a point where the majority of rams tested are given scores of 1;1 or 1;2.
- Adult weight- to ensure we are selecting for growth efficiency, we weigh our 2 tooth and mixed age breeding ewes pre tup. This info is blended into our overall index, or can be split out for individual sire analysis (EWT BV). The key for us is to use this data to select for bloodlines that produce a high proportion of ewe live-weight in kilograms of weaned lamb. In addition to pre tup weighing ewes, we have begun body condition scoring ewes too with data included in the New Zealand maternal worth (NZMW) index also.