The New Zealand Central Progeny Test (CPT) was first established in 2001 with the aims of improving the carcass dollar value of sires and establishing genetic links among sire referencing schemes. Over the past three seasons, a total of 72 sires from both terminal and dual purpose breeds have been evaluated for meat genetics at the AgResearch Woodlands farm and the Lincoln University Ashley Dene farm. All progeny, except the 2004 born ewe progeny from the dual purpose sires, were slaughtered at monthly intervals from December to March each year through two Alliance plants, at threshold liveweights of 34kg. Carcass measurements included cut yield (measured by ViaScan grading) eye muscle area, GR, meat pH, meat and fat colour and days to reach an 18kg carcass weight. These measurements were used to calculate three key indices; days to kill, meat value and a combined meat and growth index, as well as individual breeding values. Results showed significant variation among sires for all key traits and that no single ram or breed dominated the top of the indices or breeding values. The range of economic value was approximately $10 across the terminal and dual purpose sires evaluated, demonstrating that considerable potential exists to identify and select better terminal sires. The CPT is now commencing maternal evaluation, using the retained ewe lambs produced from the dual purpose sires.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 368-372, 2006
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