SIL is a sheep database and genetic evaluation system developed jointly by the New Zealand Meat and Wool Boards in the late 1990’s. SIL was originally developed to manage the national sheep genetic database for the New Zealand sheep industry. It was launched in 1999 following the consolidation of a number of independent sheep recording schemes. These were the National Flock Recording Scheme (NFRS: 1967 – 1976), which was transferred into Sheeplan (1976 – 1988) and then transferred to Animalplan (1988 – 2002). When Animalplan was established there were other sheep performance evaluation schemes, Flocklinc (1989 – 1999) and the PC based software programme Studfax.
In 2004 Beef Genetics and SIL (Sheep Improvement Ltd) were combined to form Meat & Wool New Zealand Genetics. These changes reflected a consolidation of industry good and value creating functions within Meat & Wool New Zealand. Beef Genetics was previously a “human resource” within Meat New Zealand to focus on fostering the uptake of genetic information within the beef sector. This role remained largely unchanged during the establishment of Meat & Wool New Zealand. SIL had been developed and was operating, with a degree of autonomy, with its own governance and management structure.
After organisational restructuring in 2010, when Beef + Lamb New Zealand was formed, this Genetics function has continued, within the Farm division of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.