Genetics equal to the best in NZ

Greeline 2th rams are available for selection in January; ram hoggets are ready in March. Full Sheep Improvement Limited SIL records help clients to make their selection. Price is determined from the genetic merit as shown on the selection list. The Greeline composite provides the commercial farmer with a simple genetic solution. Because the hard work has been done to produce a highly productive sheep, which thrives in a wide range of environments and systems of management to suit the present economic circumstance, a terminal sire is not necessary. We could have offered a wide range of options, but most of them would be first cross lines. This would be confusing and misleading, and it would reduce the future rate of genetic improvement of the Greeline.

A consistent & reliable composite animal. The Greeline Composite of 3/8 Texel; 3/8 Coopworth; ¼ East Friesian has been stablized for more than ten years. This ensures that there is a considerable amount of consistency with reproductive performance and with carcase conformation. The benefit to clients is that a minimum number of animals require culling for “type”. This allows for more emphasis on performance when ewe lambs are retained as replacements.

Hybrid vigour; Much has been made of the influence of hybrid vigour. This certainly applies when two different breeds are crossed. The Border Leicester /Romney, or East Friesian /Romney are excellent examples of first cross animals which show the benefit of hybrid vigour. When more breeds are involved the hybrid vigour is reduced.

Coopworth concept. Professor Coop from Lincoln University showed back in the 1960’s that with selection, based on superior performance, the expected loss of hybrid vigour from two breeds could be offset by the F3, or third generation. Hence the Coopworth breed from the Border Leister /Romney was developed. This is often referred to as ” the Coopworth concept.” This has been from the outset, a guiding principle at The Gree.

Population genetics has been the other essential guiding principle at The Gree. This is the reason that The Gree breeding programme has involved being a participant with group breeding schemes, such as the NZ Romney Development Group and the Apex Coopworth Syndicate. Across flock analysis has been used to identify the highest performing animals. Greeline composite sheep have been developed from these guiding principles. The four breeds include the Romney and Border Leicester (Coopworth) the Texel and East Friesian. Some hybrid vigour has been displayed, but by applying the principles which have been mentioned, built in genetic superiority has been captured. We now offer clients a simple choice of using the one interbred combination of 3/8 Texel; 3/8 Coopworth; ¼ East Friesian named Greeline. This is a simple management programme where Greeline rams can be mated to most existing breeds or to Greeline ewes. This produces the maximum number of female offspring from which replacements can be selected.

The Gree has Texel rams for sale. These are owned by stock manager Hayden Peter. With the use of artificial insemination the best Texel genetics in New Zealand have been used.

Selection for improved yield from animals Yield payment Now that meat companies are including meat yield as a basis for payment for lamb, this has a significant influence on the return that the lamb producer receives. The Alliance Group has shown through the central progeny test, CPT, sire differences can vary the return to suppliers by $7.00 to $8.00 per lamb. At The Gree eye muscle ultra sound scanning of ram lambs at 100 days of age has been done for more than ten years. This has influenced which rams or ram hoggets have been used for stud purposes. This information has also determined which ram lambs have had carcase measurements taken using the innervision catscan. All Texel sires that have been purchased or used in recent years have had superior breeding values for eye muscle and they also have had a double copy of the MyoMax gene. This gene confers leanness and higher yielding carcases. The 3/8 or nearly 50% Texel in the Greeline composite has certainly produced a desirable carcase. . It can be concluded that the Greeline composite sheep has demonstrated superior yield of lean meat. They are in particular, suited to heavy contracts of up to 23 kgs carcase weight. We believe that significant further improvement can be made.

Progeny test for improved yield of saleable meat. Compared with Romney lambs Greeline lambs have consistently yielded 4% more meat as measured by the Alliance Group viascan. Now Alliance will record the yield of individually tagged culled SIL recorded lambs. This information adds accuracy to our SIL reports which include ultra sound eye muscle information and CT scan results. Greeline is taking full advantage of all this information.