Progeny Tests

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A progeny test is used to benchmark the performance of a ram by comparing how his progeny perform under the same environmental conditions relative to progeny from other rams. In this way, rams can be compared across different flocks as these reference sires create genetic connections between flocks.

Running a progeny test at one location – a “central progeny test” – facilitates comparisons of rams that would not normally be made in industry. It is also an opportunity to use provide a practical resource for genetic research development.

The linkages created by the B+LNZ Genetics Sheep Progeny Test underpin NZGE – the weekly large-scale across-flock and across-breed evaluation.

Sheep Progeny Test sites

There are two types of sites:

1) Hub sites focus on flock connectedness that underpins across-industry genetic evaluation.
Hub flocks also provide connectedness between Next Generation flocks,  a resource for genetics research as well as add-on innovative projects.

2) Next Generation sites build stronger connections with ram breeding flocks in the industry.
Each Next Generation site focuses on either a breed type or specialist challenge relevant to the land type and geographical location. 

Breed versus ram comparison

The Sheep Progeny Test was not set up as a “breed comparison”, but rather as a “ram comparison”. It has focused on what are considered to be better genetics. Breed comparisons require testing of many sires per breed, selected at random from within each breed, and with fewer progeny per sire. The progeny test has used a small number of sires with more progeny per sire, from as many breeds as possible to improve genetic linkage within the New Zealand Sheep Industry.

Confirmed rams for 2021 mating

Ram being assessed at the Next Generation Low-input site for the 2021 season are listed in the link below.
To improve connectedness, you can contact a breeder on the list to check if additional straws are available, or organise a sire referencing group to share one of these rams. Best practice for achieving connectedness to one of the progeny test sites is to use the same ram, in the same year and measure the same traits.

View List of Rams used for 2021-mating (pdf)

View List of Rams used for 2020-Mating (pdf)

Progeny Test Results

Low Input Sheep Progeny Test Results: Cohort 2019 (June 2020)

Hub Site Annual Report 2016-2019 (pdf)

PML Progeny Test results: Terminal/Meat Quality (Feb 2019)

Results archive