Getting your genetics in sheep shape

Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) are now easier to access, understand and apply thanks to the launch of MLA’s Sheep Genetics search website in August 2020 and updates made during the first half of 2021.

The improvements were launched before ram sale season and were especially timely as COVID-19 disrupted in-person sale attendances, driving increased online purchasing activity.

The updates have better serviced a growing portfolio of commercial users.

Key features of the new site include:

  • Different data displays for ASBVs to accommodate different learning styles, such as new tables and charts of breeding values for visual learners.
  • A more advanced login system, allowing commercial producers to create an account on the site and save previous searches and animals to their account (such as rams for an upcoming sale).
  • New percentile highlights and colours are available for animals in the top 5%, 10% and 20%, catering to a greater number of producers with different preferences to view data.
  • New sale catalogue and pen card creation tools enable breeders to easily list their animals for sale. Pen cards now also include QR codes that producers can scan at sales or field days to ASBVs on a particular animal.
  • The new site is mobile friendly, allowing producers to have round-the-clock access to genetic data for decision-making.
  • Updates to the performance of the site, including speed. The serviceability of the site has also been improved following feedback from users.

In addition to the live updates to the platform, Sheep Genetics will be launching a new and improved database system in 2022. This includes improvements incorporated into the search site that will make it easier for breeders and service providers to upload data to the Sheep Genetics database as well as receive reports and results.

MLA’s Project Manager – Genetics, Peta Bradley, said along with the new features, the site rework was also about improving user experience.

“The updates have improved the speed at which people can access data significantly, and the new site has been built on updated platforms that greatly improve its serviceability and allow us to continue making improvements to it,” Peta said.

“It’s allowed us to simplify the language of genetic evaluation and cater to the needs of a range of users, both those who’ve been exposed to breeding values before and those who are new to it and looking to improve their enterprise through genetics.”

Opportunities for livestock advisors to engage with Sheep Genetics

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