Genetics New Zealand

Sheep5K

Sheep5K enables superior selection opportunities, ultimately leading to faster genetic gain. Sheep5K is the premier genomic tool for gaining information on young sire candidates; selecting better replacements more often; and screening animals to be challenged with other breeding tools such as RamGuard. Sheep5K results, combined with SIL breeding values, provide the most accurate prediction of an animal’s future performance.

 ◊ August 2017 Update

In collaboration with Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics, Sheep5K has been recalibrated. Thanks to the input of phenotypes and genotypes from leading ram breeders throughout NZ, FarmIQ, NZAGRC and PGgRC , Sheep5K is now delivered with:

  • More accuracy
  • More breeds

    • Texel
    • Highlander
  • More traits - from 22 to 30

    • Survival
    • Body Condition Score
    • Resilience (to internal parasites)
    • Hogget Fertility
Expand All
  • WHAT IS IT?

    Sheep5K is the premier genomic tool:

    • For gaining extra information on young sire candidates
    • For selecting better replacements more often
    • For screening animals to be challenged with other breeding tools

    Genomics uses many DNA markers (in this case 5,000) to derive breeding values. Breeding values from a genomic tool are called molecular breeding values (mBVs). For a list of the traits delivered as molecular breeding values from Sheep5K and the sheep breeds it can be used with, refer to “Traits delivered from Genomics” in this publication.


     
    WHY DO I NEED TO USE IT?

    Traditional selection methods such as estimated breeding values (eBVs) from SIL can be unreliable for selecting young animals such as ram hogget’s, but also two-tooths. A ram hogget has very little performance recording information of its own and it has no direct progeny. Therefore its traditional SIL estimated breeding values can change significantly, especially as the performance of direct progeny are also recorded, contributing to its evaluation.

    Sheep5K can add significant accuracy to breeding values in the form of “progeny equivalents”. Recording 1 progeny for a trait contributes a certain amount of accuracy to a parent’s breeding value. Recording 10 progeny for a trait adds a lot of information and accuracy to a parent’s breeding value. The amount of accuracy added to an animal’s breeding values when using Sheep5K can be equivalent to recording many progeny, as shown below:

    Trait WWT WWTM CW EWT BCS FD EMAc LEANY FW12 NLB HFER SUR SURM GGT21 FEC1 ADAG DRAGE RGAIN
    Progeny
    Equivalents
    9.2 3.7 2.0 1.6 9.7 27.2 4.0 5.1 5.6 10.7 8.5 63.0 154.6 4.4 27.9 6.1 4.0 5.4

    Sheep5K can add as much accuracy to the trait WWT (weaning weight) as weighing 9.2 virtual progeny. For a ram hogget who is young, has not been mated and has no real progeny on the ground, this information is very valuable when making decisions about growth and weight traits.

    Sheep5K can add as much accuracy to the trait NLB (number of lambs born) as having 10.7 daughters lambing. A ewe hogget who is young, has not been mated and has no real progeny on the ground, this information is very valuable when making decisions. How many years would it take for a ewe to produce 10 lambs? Advance knowledge on maternal performance is very valuable.

    Sheep5K can add as much accuracy to the trait GGT21 (facial eczema) as having 4.4 dosed with sporidesmin. Dosing with sporidesmin impacts an individual’s performance and is costly. Advance knowledge of which animals are more likely to withstand a dosing program is valuable information, especially when recording costs are so high.

  • HOW DO I USE IT?
    Sheep5K can be used in a variety of ways, all of which make selection decisions more robust. For example:

    1 Sheep5K test a selection of ram hoggets before hogget mating to ensure that the best genetics are actually being used.

    2 Screen a selection of two-tooth rams with Sheep5K before using Ramguard, the Facial Eczema sporidesmin  dosing program, to ensure the most FE tolerant rams are being used.

    3 Sheep5K test two-tooth rams before sale to ensure that your best genetics are not being sold; or if they are being sold, that the sale price reflects the investment made and the true value of the ram.

    4 Use Sheep5K when screening in ewes or rams from unrecorded multiplier or commercial flocks.

    HOW MANY RAMS SHOULD I TEST?
    When using Sheep5K to select new young sires (1, in previous section), test 20% of your final cut of ram candidates. This number of tests should be a similar number to 10% of your total ewe numbers.

    WHAT TYPE OF SAMPLE DO I NEED TO TAKE?
    All genomic tests require a punch of ear tissue.

     

  • WHAT DO RESULTS LOOK LIKE?
    There are three aspects to the results delivered from a Sheep5K test:

    1 Parent verification – The tested animal will automatically be DNA pedigree verified to a sire. An assumption is that the sire’s DNA profile is accessible from within the genomic DNA bank. This should be the case as there is a prerequisite that tested animals are ‘close’ to the genomic resource, as discussed later in this publication.

    2 Gene marker results – Specific gene markers have been included within the 5,000 DNA marker set. These currently include MyoMAX®, I-Scan® and Inverdale®, BC02 (Yellow Fat),LambMAX (GDF9;litter size or NLB).

    3 Molecular breeding values (mBVs) – mBVs are generated from an animal’s DNA profile only. mBVs for up to 35 traits trait’s (depending on breed) with % rank information per trait and SIL equivalent DPO / DPP Index values and % ranks, per animal.


     


     

    4 Genomic breeding values (gBVs) – gBVs are the result of Blending, discussed later in this publication. Blending uses all information resources (pedigree, performance records and genomics) to generate the most accurate estimation to date of an animal’s future potential performance.


    WHERE, WHEN AND HOW DO I ACCESS MY RESULT REPORTS?
    Sheep5K reports come from two sources, the Zoetis SIL Bureau, and SIL. Before either provider can produce a report, gBVs must be generated via Blending. gBVs are generated from a specific genetic evaluation. This evaluation (called the National Genomic Evaluation or NGE) is similar to SIL ACE in that it includes many flocks from throughout New Zealand. It is a national benchmark of the tested animal’s potential future performance and uses all available information resources (pedigree, performance records and genomics). The NGE will be run only once a month. It is essential that all pedigree, performance and genomic information is added to SIL before the NGE commences.

  • Genomic traits delivered with Sheep5K and Sheep50K are available for these breeds.

  • WHEN USING SHEEP5K TIMING IS EVERYTHING

    As more selection data is created off-farm, timing becomes important to ensure that all information is selection data back in time for making key decisions, planning backwards, incorporating recording events proactively, is essential.

    Zoetis can advise of appropriate structure and timing of sampling and results delivery, when engaging a DNA testing program. It's vitally important to realise that there is time required between submitting samples for testing and the delivery of results.

    BLENDING AND THE NATIONAL GENOMIC EVALUATION (NGE)

    Sheep5K is reported to customers in two forms. A Sheep5K report from Zoetis indicating the genomic results from the animal’s DNA alone, and a SIL report combining the Sheep5K report with eBVs from SIL. Previously the NGE evaluation was used to combine these results.

    Now, the NZGE is the evaluation that combines Sheep5K with eBVs from SIL

    The NZGE is run weekly, increasing the convenience of incorporating genomics into many types of breeding programs across New Zealand. The NZGE combines all available pedigree, performance and genomic information.

    Blending is the process that combines eBVs from SIL with mBVs from Sheep5K or Sheep50K. Blending produces a genomic breeding value or gBV. gBVs are valuable because they contain new accurate information that has not previously been available to breeders or farmers for selection purposes.

    Where only an eBV or an mBV is present, the gBV is equal to the eBV or mBV. Where both an eBV and an mBV are present, the gBV is a blend of the eBV and mBV.

    Flags on the gBV will indicate what information has been used in the blending

      • † indicates that eBV and mBV information has been used in gBV calculation.
      • § indicates that only mBV information has been used in gBV calculation

    When requesting or viewing selection lists that include animals that have been tested with Sheep50K or Sheep5K, all animals within the list will have gBVs. This is the case whether or not all animals in the selection list have been tested with a genomic tool. All animals in the list can be compared on an ‘apples with apples’ basis. DNA tested animals are not advantaged over untested animals simply because they have been DNA tested.

  • The Zoetis Genomic Suite, which includes Sheep50K and Sheep5K, offers a lot to the Sheep industry, but like all tools, it has limitations.

    Prepare for your initial engagement with Zoetis by answering these preliminary questions:

    1 Is the animal you want to test, on SIL?
    Tested animals do not have to be registered on SIL, but their Sires should be. Establish the SIL birth ID of the animals being tested (or their Sire) before engaging Zoetis.

    2 Proximity to the Genomic Pool
    It’s important that any animal being tested is ‘close’ to the resource used in the development of the Zoetis Genomic Suite. Contact Zoetis to help establish the proximity of the animals you want to test, to the Genomic Pool.

    3 Breed criteria
    Sheep5K can be used in these New Zealand Sheep breeds:

    BREED

    DESCRIPTION

    Romney

    >= 75% Romney

    Coopworth

    >= 75% Coopworth

    Perendale

    >= 75% Perendale

    Texel

    >= 75% Texel

    Highlander

    >= 75% Highlander

    Composite

    Composite breed determination is complicated. Generally, there needs to be a good proportion (>30%) of Romney, Coopworth and/or Perendale with other breeds forming a lesser proportion. Composite breeds recognised in the calibration are:

    ·         Composite

    ·         Coopdale

    ·         Finn x Texel (FinTex)

    ·         Growbulk (GrowBk)

    ·         Landmark (LandMk)

    ·         Primera

    ·         Romdale

    ·         Romney Dorset (RomneyDr)

    ·         TEFRom (TEFR)

    "Breed" can be established from SIL (assuming the animal is registered on the SIL database).

  • Use THIS CHART as a guide to indicate the optimum number of young ram candidates to test with Sheep5K to maximise value but minimise cost.

    Modelling has shown that testing about 20% of the final cut of selection candidates is the optimum number of young rams to test under a two stage selection model.

    E.g.

    Ewes 1000  
    Docking % 140%  
    Lambs 1400  
    Ram Lambs 700  
    Less deaths 5%  
    Less culls 30%  
    Remaining rams 466  
    % of Rams Sheep5K tested 15% 70
      20% 93
      25% 116