12 Dec 2014

Designer genes on show

9:48 am on 12 December 2014

Designer genes will be the focus of a field day in Central Otago today for fine wool growers on the hunt to find the perfect fit.

The event is organised by the New Zealand Merino Company.

Production science manager Mark Ferguson said as well as animal health and forage being discussed, 40 groups of sheep would be on show in Cromwell to highlight genetic differences.

"This is an opportunity to walk out there and see 700 sheep all in their groups so you can see just that single impact that that sire has on those sheep. It's quite profound - the differences in micron to fleece weight, to body weight, to worm resistance, to wrinkle - a whole heap of things you can't normally see on a commercial farm."

"I guess the term designer genes came from (the fact ) that there's not one perfect sheep for every farmer, there's a range of options, a range of farms in New Zealand so it's about providing information to help producers find the genes that fit them best."

Dr Ferguson said more than 150 commercial merino producers, breeders and specialists from the agribusiness sector were expected to attend.

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