Estimating Breeding Values for Better Cashmere – Using the Australian Cashmere Growers performance recording scheme

  • 77 pages

  • Published: 20 Mar 2009

  • Author(s): James, A.T.

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Fine Australian cashmere is regarded as the softest and warmest of the commercially available textile fibres. The Australian cashmere goat was first domesticated from the feral herd in the 1970’s. It is hardy, robust and highly fertile. However, cashmere productivity per head is low. As a result, expansion of the industry is severely limited by the low productivity and low profitability of average cashmeres.

ACGA Merrrit is a performance recording scheme that analyses individual animal records from herds across Australia and calculates estimated breeding values (EBV). EBVs are an estimate of the animals genetic worth free of any confounding effects of environment, location or year. As such they are a valuable tool for animal breeders and help to accelerate the rate of genetic gain in a flock.

This RIRDC report should be carefully considered by current cashmere growers and by those considering entering the industry. The report also has important implications for policy makers and for fibre and textile businesses, in that it is likely that Australia will become a significant producer of cashmere if the outcomes of this research are fully extended to industry.