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  • Karen Wilson

Genomics - Investing in the future

For the past three years Kentish Downs has made a significant investment in DNA testing all sheep to accelerate genetic gain and performance.

Genomic selection works by DNA testing an animal and comparing its DNA profile with thousands of other animals that have been DNA tested and measured for important traits. Based on this DNA comparison the genomic breeding value of an animal can be predicted.

To assist in the analysis and interpretation of the genetic data, Elise Bowen, Sheep Data Management and Jim Meckiff, JM Livestock provide their independent services and expertise in interpreting the data for Kentish Downs.

"Genomics testing fits in with our ethos of 100% parentage verification and gives our clients the best picture of how the rams they buy from us will perform in their flock," Craig Wilson said.

The Sheep Genomic Test includes parentage information, but also provides evaluations for the full scope of important genetic traits, including birth weight, weaning weight, fat depth, eye muscle depth, intramuscular fat, lean meat yield and shear force.

Genomic testing allows early access to information on hard-to-measure traits, like intramuscular fat and tenderness, which they would otherwise have to wait until slaughter to obtain.

Craig Wilson said, it is our goal to simultaneously breed sheep that possess great production traits, increased processor margin and provide consumers with the best eating experience.

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