Assessing the ability of tags to identify particular mating events between rams and ewes

White, Trinity
University of Sydney


This summary has been extracted from the application. A copy of the student’s Abstract/Thesis has not been received.

The project will consist of 3 phases.

Phase 1 will involve the collection of semen from ten rams via electroejaculation. Semen will be analysed using advanced semen assessment technologies, such as computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA) to assess the sperm concentration, motility and viability collected from each ram. Dimensions of each rams’ testes will also be measured prior to and after the joining period.

Phase 2 will involve joining the rams to n=500 ewes. Rams will be harnessed with the Smart Tags, while ewes will carry ear tags. Joining will occur for 5-6 weeks after which tags will be removed. Data will be sent in real time to an AWI server during joining. Tag data will be downloaded from the server for immediate analysis. Ram performance will be assessed by the number of mating events recorded over the joining period. Ewe oestrus will be estimated as time of maximum number of matings by a ram. Estimated time of conception and pregnancy status will be assumed from an absence of mating events in subsequent oestrus. Pregnancy scanning will occur 55 days post joining to confirm pregnancy status and determine age of foetuses.

Phase 3 will involve conducting parentage analysis on marked lambs to assess whether number of matings can predict sire of lamb and ultimately confirm ram performance.

Data will be statistically analysed to assess whether any of the collected data is correlated or whether significant differences exist between ram performance.