central progeny test

B+LNZ Central Progeny Test

Launched in June 2002 as the Alliance CPT and now called the B+LNZ Central Progeny Test, the project allows sheep farmers to easily identify rams with superior traits for their operation.

A collaborative project managed by AbacusBio’s Neville Jopson, the idea was simple – run progeny from leading industry rams in identical environments in order to identify genetics of high performing animals. What no-one could have foreseen was quite how valuable the programme has been for the New Zealand sheep industry.

The B+LNZ Central Progeny Test had four objectives: identify sources of high-performing rams; develop genetic measures for specific traits; foster links between ram breeders; and provide a genetic resource for improving the profitability of the industry. 

Revolutionary when launched, the B+LNZ Central Progeny Test has been incredibly successful, providing critical information and strengthening the analytical toolkit around meat yield, FE tolerance and a range of other traits. Overall, it has allowed farmers to become more discerning about how they choose rams, while permitting an informed debate about commercially useful traits.

Two new hill sites in the South and North Islands were established in 2013 by Ovita to expand the activities of the B+LNZ Central Progeny Test. These sites will be influential in gathering information about the best performing genetics under tougher hill country conditions.  The practical management and data collection from the additional sites will be overseen by AbacusBio’s Nadia Mclean.

More than ten years on, the sheep industry has benefited from the data dramatically, with a wealth of genetic information allowing farmers to match ram purchases to their individual farming environments, thereby improving profitability.