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The presence of the gene is either as a double or single copy or not present. It has given us the opportunity to increase the size of our stud Romney flock to just under 1500 ewes. - Maximising output of quality meat and wool - Focus is still on production and performance including quality within a low cost, challenging environment. One ram Nithdale 2155/15 was used in the stud and in the Waikato in 2017 (currently ranks 15th on June 2019 NZGE Maternal Worth with Facial Eczema list. There are 10 flocks in New Zealand which qualify for the WormFEC Gold Group which are leading the way in breeding sheep that are resistant to internal parasites including Nithdale Romneys. In the old genetic evaluation system, eBVs or estimated breeding values were generated from pedigree and performance information. Since 2017 we have been getting genomic information on all lambs tailed. The Adult FEC BVs have reduced by nearly a half over that period of time. With initial testing AgResearch has determined that: Performance recording (lambing survival, weaning weight, autumn weight and fleece weight) became an integral part of the stud. The graph opposite shows the genetic trend for the breeding value for reduced adult faecal egg count. Up until the late 1970s registered Romneys from around Southland were being used over Nithdale ewes. More than half our ewes to date have at least one or two copies of the gene. With each cross we are able to identify those sheep carrying the gene while crossing each generation back to the Romney. Since 2012  we have been lambing the stud Romneys on the hill and determining the parentage of the lambs through DNA. The records we have been using are the dual purpose production (DPP) index + WormFEC (DPF) produced by Sheep Improvement Limited (National Sheep Database). We have achieved close to a 40% reduction in FEC over 25 years compared with an industry that hasn't changed. This improves our selection decisions meaning that we make faster genetic gain. Our ram lambs are left undrenched until sampled in mid February. Many vets are seeing drench reduction tests showing resistance to all 3 major drench families. Our objective is to breed a sheep that is 80-95% Romney with two copies of the MyoMAX gene. Traits recorded are: pregnancy scan and number of lambs born (in both mixed aged ewes and hoggets), survival (derived from pregnancy scan and lambs reared), weaning weight, live weight at 6 months, meat scanning (A, B & C measurements) in the ram lambs, CT meat scanning a percentage of ram lambs, faecal egg counts in the ram lambs, dag score, fleece weight at 12 months, GGT levels (FE tolerance), mating weights and condition score of ewes. Over the next 5 years Nithdale will continue to work with AgResearch to improve the accuracy of this trait and begin to select for it. Over the last few years there has been an increasing awareness of drench resistance and the associated problems faced by sheep farmers. $13 per ewe ahead of the industry average (green line) and 190% faster rate of genetic gain. As Nithdale had a large commercial flock it was decided to start a stud primarily for supplying rams for the commercial flock. It is very important especially to the sheep-meat and wool export trades of New Zealand. There could also be a trend in overseas markets in time for product that has not been drenched. We mated separately this year some scrapie type 1 MyoMAX carrying 2th ewes to a double MyoMAX scrapie type 1 ram hogget. We have been part of the WormFEC program since 1992 and have made significant progress in reducing faecal egg counts. We see breeding sheep for resistance to internal parasites as the long term solution to drench resistance and a dependence on animal health products. In the early 1980s a number of twin bearing ewes were screened from the commercial flock at Nithdale and rams primarily from the North Island, from breeders who were part of the New Zealand Romney Development Group, were put across these ewes. At the forefront of importing top quality New Zealand Romney breeding stock and genetics to the UK for over 30 years, High Country Romneys From the start, in 1986 we have put our Romney and Romtex sheep through a stringent breeding program to develop a type of ewe with durability and performance qualities like no other maternal sheep. - it is a heritable trait We have been selecting rams and ewes to retain based on structural soundness, good constitution and records. However the ewes were having lambing difficulties and problems with large udders and poor teat placement. With Climate Change Policy being set farmers will be required to reduce methane emissions from their farms. Exported to other continents, the Romney is an economically important sheep breed, especially to the sheep-meat and wool export trades of New Zealand The WormFEC Gold Group kicked off towards the end of 2018. There are even farms that have resistance to the two latest drench families: zolvix and Startec. The Romney is a "long-wool" breed recognized in England by 1800. We can’t throw away the drench gun yet but we are heading in the right direction. These problems are only going to get worse. Nithdale Romneys genetic trends graph (June 2020) for New Zealand Maternal Worth (NZMW) + WormFEC + Meat + Dags. The Romney sheep is an economically-important breed of domestic sheep.

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