Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mr Gardynes letter to straight Furrow re my Glammies article

I have just read Hugh Gardyne's letter to the editor in the Straight Furrow dated 31 August 2010 slagging what I wrote last week. I enjoy a good argument and I hope a few more people have considered my article and Hugh's response, however his response does require me to point out a few things:
  1. 'The CPT trial is simply a ram versus ram basis, and is unrealistic to use it as a breed comparison.  CPT state this themselves.  I only quote the following CPT figures as Hugh is using this to back up his argument, but realistically you should not use CPT as a breed comparison as it covers too few rams.  I would take a lamb finishers' word (who make a living out it) any day over a trial that to date has only evaluated a total of 193 rams.
  2. The meat indexes and growth indexes are about as reliable as the weather reports for South Canterbury at the moment.   They have subjective economic weightings which realistically should be different for different parts of the country, for example growth rates are much more important for summer dry areas, then perhaps where Hugh farms.  However if you want to use SIL data to back up your argument, then try breeding values, these have no hidden attributes or subjective weightings that indexes have which may distort the results.
  3. Even if you look CPT results for this last year:  There are only two texels in the top 25 for the weaning weight breeding value, which I had assumed was one of their strengths, but perhaps early growth is as much of an issue for Texels as later growth, I am sure a Southdown could fix this for you Hugh!!!.   Now look at the Eye Muscle Area bv and there are 14 Texel, texel cross or composite rams (which I assume includes part texel) in the top 25, in other words they yield well (assuming hybrid vigour is not totally responsible for the high yield).   These two values simply back up what I said and what lamb finishers have told me, good yielders, slow growers.
  4. Even if you use the growth index figures that Hugh quotes, two rams with good growth, sure, one other crossbred texel is 18th, but the rest of the remaining 25 are not texels. The rest incidentally are all those breeds of the past that Hugh refers to and includes a Southdown which I would consider a new breed of the 90's that Hugh refers to, as they are breed that has changed to meet the markets requirements more than perhaps any other breed in the last 30 years, many farmers can testify to this.
  5. Sure the lambs are subjected to a tenderness test and they have to be below a ph of 5.7, but the weighting is 50:50 on yield and tenderness.  I have seen the results for the lines of lambs in the last Glammies and the reality is, with a few exceptions, that almost all the top yeilders make the final.  It is all about the respective weighting you give to the tests or lack of it perhaps.
As I stated in the initial article this is not a dig at texels, but Hugh seems to have taken it as such, it is a dig at those supposedly leading our meat industry, growth rate is a significant issue for many farmers and I (along with many others) sincerely believe that there is a strong correlation between very high meat yield and low growth rates, but the present criteria for the Glammies makes no allowances for growth rates and moreover it puts a significant weighting on yield, which I would think has little bearing on the taste of the lamb.

If the Glammies is to be used as industry beacon then it needs to use criteria that ensures it sends out the right signals as to what type of lamb we should be growing.

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