World leading Poll Dorset breeding group, Meat Elite Australia (MEA), met recently to discuss the future of the breed.
MEA has helped its 16 member studs located across four states, achieve consistent genetic gain in their flocks for more than 20 years - well before the terminal Australia Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV) were introduced.
During the Melbourne conference, input from Sheep Genetics Australia staff helped members set genetic targets for the next five years.
"The Elite Sire Team is identified from approximately 4000 rams by a selection committee focusing on balanced ASBVs that will boost the genetic merit of all participating flocks," Dale Price of Majardah Stud Glencoe in South Australia said.
Tasmania's Melton Vale stud principal Bramwell Heazlewood, indicated the focus on birth weight, growth, fat and muscle would continue, but that the group was particularly keen to protect the premium eating quality of lamb.
"Selecting rams with good eating quality ASBVs are part of our ongoing focus to protect and grow our clients' businesses," he said.
The use of ASBVs to ensure genetic merit, enables producers across a wide variety of environmental conditions to select rams with confidence.
"No better example of this is seen in the MEA and client flocks that are located across very diverse environmental conditions, where performance is monitored with the collection of raw data and processed by Sheep Genetics Australia into ASBVs," Mr Heazlewood said.
Phil Clothier of the Woolumbool Stud on the Limestone Coast, said the MEA was a committed organisation to its members.
"Organisations like MEA are very rare because of the commitment required to the group and its guiding principles," he said.
"However, for those willing to stay the course, the rewards are many."
MEA is currently exploring options for ongoing production focused-testing that will maintain its pre-eminence at the forefront of the sheep meat sector.
For further information contact Dale Price firstname.lastname@example.org 0428394300