Sheep Improvement Ltd is a division of Meat & Wool New Zealand and provides state of the art genetic information to ram breeders.
A company was originally set up in June 1998 by the Meat and Wool Boards, to operate the national genetic database and to provide breeding values and other genetic information through registered Service Providers. This company was later brought back into MWNZ and SIL is the performance recording and genetic evaluation service provided to industry.
SIL has access to the services of New Zealand's leading geneticists and genetic specialists who are continually working on the genetic parameters to further improve the quality of the New Zealand flock.
The New Zealand sheep industry has a vision of a long term international market leadership and viability through the effective marketing of premium products which meet customer expectations and are produced in an environmentally sustainable manner, secured by excellence and innovation in research, technology development and transfer along the entire value chain.
To compete successfully the sheep meat and wool sectors must adopt advanced genetic technology and benchmark itself with its white meat competitors. Of the remarkable progress these highly competitive industries have made in improved production efficiencies, 60% have resulted from animal breeding, 35% from improved nutrition, and 5% from improved animal health (US data).
Currently the genetic progress made in the national sheep industry is low at a time when sheep farmers are improving at 3% per annum. For comparative purposes the national dairy herd is achieving more than 1% improvement per annum, driven by the industry's centralised performance recording and breeding services and a strong awareness held by dairy farmers of the economic importance of genetic improvement.
A cornerstone for enhancing the competitive advantage and profitability of the sheep industry lies in improved animal performance and the associated need for an appropriate evaluation service and its promotion and extension to the farmer.
Realisation of the full potential benefit derived from investment in genetics and reproductive research is only possible with access to a comprehensive database which enables animals with elite genes to be identified.
History, Current Future
Technical Development priorities
How SIL operates
How to join SIL