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Central West Genetics

Rethink genetic traceability, producer says

GABRIELLE JOHNSTON, The Weekly Times, August 1, 2016

 

A RETHINK on genetic traceability has been proposed by last year’s winner of the JBS Great Southern Lamb Supplier of the Year Awards.

South Australia’s Wayne Hawkins, Circle H Farms, Frances, was up against hundreds of producers to win the JBS competition with Dohne/White Suffolk prime lambs.

Mr Hawkins has been breeding Dohne sheep for about 14 years and currently joins 5500 ewes to White Suffolk rams.

A commercial producer, Mr Hawkins is concerned there is no information for breeders about prime lambs genetics once the lamb is at carcass stage.

He said while ram sellers had plenty of data available on sires, the same could not be said for prime lambs at the abattoir.

“Ram sellers have got all their data on their figures and how they’re improving, but once that ram is sold, and it does its work no one really follows it through to the other end,” Mr Hawkins said.

“We should be going to the other end and working out what we need.

“We should be tracing those lambs all the way back to find out where those really good lambs are coming from.”

Mr Hawkins said if traceability of breeding was available from the carcass that would help producers work out which genetics to buy.

“We need to identify the ones we need, and then come all the way back to these breeders, and find out who does have the best pool of genetics,” he said.

Mr Hawkins said he had held a few “quiet discussions” on the issue, and believed a lot of people “would love to do it”.

However, he said the whole industry would need to be involved including breeders, agents and the abattoirs.

It was an issue that Mr Hawkins raised at the recent Global Dohne Conference in Dubbo, NSW.

“The meatworks, agents they’ve really got to hook into it,” he said.

“I am sure the stud breeders would love to know too where they sit.”

Mr Hawkins said he hoped people would start thinking about the idea because at the moment the sheep industry was gaining a lot by its management, but more could be done on traceability to benefit the industry.

“If we want to do it we can do it,” he said.

“We’ve got the technology to follow them all through.

“Why don’t we take it to the next level.”

wayne Hawkins weekly times

Guest speaker at the Global Dohne Conference, Wayne Hawkins Circle H Farms, Frances SA