New Zealand Ovine Sire Reference Group (NZOSR)


Advances in artificial insemination and oestrus synchronisation technology have made practical the incorporation of sire referencing into NZ sheep breeding practice.

In 1985 a small group of Coopworth breeders became the first in New Zealand to link flocks by artificially inseminating ewes with semen from select reference sires.

Their objective then, as it still is now, was ranking the total sire resource of several flocks through a common reference standard, identifying the superior performing sires, and installing them in the next reference sire team.

This was a quantum leap in sheep breeding; no other system achieves more rapid identification and turn-around of superior improver genestock, on such a scale, at moderate cost.

An independent group of practicing sheep-breeders and farmers, NZOSR is structured to produce gene stock relevant to the times, selecting and referencing sires for wool production, lean growth and facial eczema resistance, through a unique group selection system that ensures maximum acceptability of the reference sires.

NZOSR has a commitment to the improvement of its system and services to the adoption of new technology, utilising the services of Premier Breeding Services, collection and processing of semen, and technical support in the North Island and the Lincoln University Animal & Veterinary Sciences Group for analysis of the reference data and technical support in the South Island.

S Wyn-Harris.
Marlow Hill, R.D.1,
Ph/Fax: (06) 855-8265
JD Wilkie.
PO Box 355,
Ph: (06) 342-6883
Fax: (06) 342-6660
Technical Assistance (South Island):
CM Logan.
Animal & Veterinary Sciences Group
PO Box 84
Ph: (03) 325-2811
Fax: (03) 325-3851
Technical Assistance (North Island):
TG Cook.
Premier Breeding Services,
406 Kimbolton Rd,
Ph: (06) 323-6161
Fax: (06) 323-6179

The Reference

NZOSR offers membership to flocks qualifying as either Reference or Associate Flocks.

Reference Flocks have a recommended insemination requirement of 50 ewes, ideally 25 of each of the #1 and #2 Reference Sires, and must participate fully in supply of flock progeny data and proven sires.

NZOSR also supports a facial eczema interest cell with resistance tested sires catalogued as options for reference participation.

Usage of semen from any other catalogued sire is optional and limited only by supply, all semen is supplied to members at cost plus nominal royalty to the owner.

Associate Flock status offers next-priority access to semen and technical service. Semen from the sires catalogued is also available for outright purchase, and for export subject to conditions applying in country of import.

The Sires

The sires in this catalogue were selected and ranked for preference by members at their ram selection day held in December 1998, the culmination of the groups 13th reference covering approx. 8000 1997-born progeny of 95 sires in 17 flocks.

The reference breeding values shown have been derived using sire-model BLUP procedures run integrally with the Flock-Link recording system at Lincoln University, and represent the sires deviation from the mean of all sires analysed, based on progeny performance.

Sires ranking in the top 30 for each trait are designated Trait-Leaders. Sires selected for Al service are designated Reference Sires, order of usage indicated #(1-4), and are further defined for performance attribute by the following ID prefixing: 8000 (wool), 7000 (lean growth), 6000 (FE), 5000 (both lean growth and wool). Reference Sires ranking prominently in a subsequent year's Trait-Leader listing are eligible for promotion to Pathfinder status.

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