MLP Project


Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) have teamed up with five sire evaluation sites to deliver the Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) Project 2015-25. The project is designed to capture lifetime data across diverse environments and Merino types to help better understand and deliver Merino ewe lifetime performance outcomes for the Australian Merino industry.

The AWI funded project is a $7 million (plus $5 million in support from project partners), 10-year partnership between AWI, AMSEA, nominating stud breeders and the site hosts. The collaborative effort will generate a unique Merino dataset that can be analysed to better understand how current selection approaches using visual selection along with 1) Raw Data, 2) Sire Adjusted Means, 3) Within Site and Project Breeding Values and 4) Australian Sheep Breeding Values (with and without genomic information), best predict the lifetime performance of the Merino ewe and how breeding strategies might be enhanced to deliver better productivity improvements to industry in the future.

Project Aims

Some of the broader aims of the project are to:

  • Where necessary, provide the evidence and data that the current systems can be enhanced to more accurately predict lifetime productivity.
  • Demonstrate to the industry in a commercial environment the cost benefit relationship of measuring multiple adult traits throughout the lifetime of an animal.
  • Validate the current breeding value technology across sheep types and environments.
  • Provide a substantial amount of reproduction records to the MERINOSELECT database, allowing the industry to more accurately assess the relationship between all the components that make up lifetime productivity.
  • Provide a common focus for a wide range of ram breeders with differing breeding philosophies.


Over the life of the project, 135 industry representative sires will each be joined by artificial insemination to 90 ewes in order to generate over 5,000 F1 ewes. The repeat use of sires across sites and years will ensure sufficient linkage to allow data to be analysed within each site, across sites and in combination with other industry databases such as MERINOSELECT.

Evaluation Sites

The project sire evaluation sites are located across Australia in diverse climates with genetically diverse ewe bases; Pingelly (WA), Harrow (VIC), Temora (NSW), Trangie (NSW) and Armidale (NSW).

F1 Ewes

The F1 ewes will be extensively assessed both visually and objectively for 5 to 6 years following an extensive annual recording program. Culling will be for welfare purposes only. DNA will be used to allocate pedigree and to undertake genomic testing. From approximately 18 months of age, every year the F1 ewes will be joined to a syndicate of Merino sires and reproduction records collected. The resulting F2 progeny will leave the project following the collection of DNA and a weaning weight.

Sheep Close Up - Merino Lifetime Productivity Project | Merino Superior Sires
MerinoLink - Field Day | Merino Superior Sires
MerinoLink - Field Day | Merino Superior Sires
MerinoLink - Two Blokes | Merino Superior Sires
Site Evaluation - Merino Lifetime Productivity Project | Merino Superior Sires
Macquarie Sheep Pen | Merino Superior Sires

The following table captures the annual data collected on all 5,000 F1 ewes in the project:

Wool Measurements Fleece weight, yield, fibre diameter, fibre diameter standard deviation, fibre diameter coefficient of variation, staple strength, staple length, comfort factor and curvature
Growth and Carcase Body weight, eye muscle, fat depth and adult ewe size
Health and Welfare Worm egg count, faecal consistency, dag, urine stain, breech cover, crutch cover, breech wrinkle, and weaner and adult survival
Visual Wool Traits Fleece rot, wool colour, wool character, dust penetration, staple weathering, staple structure, fibre pigmentation, non-fibre pigmentation, recessive black and random spot
Visual Conformation Traits Face cover, jaw, legs/feet, shoulder/back, body wrinkle
Classing Two classings with independent sheep classers (flock classing and stud classing approach)
Joining, Pregnancy, Lambing Sire, dam, pregnancy scanning, number of lambs weaned (reproduction, litter size, lamb survival) body weight and condition score (at pre-joining, pregnancy scanning, pre-lambing, weaning)

Latest Reports

Macquarie - Merino Ram | Merino Superior Sires
Sheep Evaluation - Merino Lifetime Productivity Project | Merino Superior Sires

MLP Contact Details



Harrow, Vic

Mark Bunge

M: 0409 962 248

Tom Silcock

M: 0419 882 239


Temora, NSW

Richard Keniry

M: 0427 878 541

Sally Martin

M: 0400 782 477



Brett Jones

M: 0428 323 012

Bron Clarke

M: 0418 957 293

New England,

Armidale, NSW

Duncan Lance

M: 0447 297 135

Jen Smith

Ph: 02 6776 1381


Trangie, NSW

Matthew Coddington

M: 0428 635 386

Kathryn Warburton

M: 0429 943 708

MLP Project Manager

Anne Ramsay

M: 0400 368 448



AWI Contact

Geoff Lindon

M: 0427 572 228

Program Manager Genetics & Animal Welfare Advocacy
AMSEA Contact

Ben Swain

M: 0427 100 452

Executive Officer