Ram breeders will now be able to list their sale catalogues on RamSelect free of charge, with changes to the system’s business model in time for the upcoming ram sale season.

First released in 2015 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), RamSelect is an easy-to-use web-based tool, which allows ram buyers to find and rank rams based on Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) that match their own breeding objective.

In recent years, studs were charged to advertise their catalogues on ramselect.com.au in order to place the system on a commercial footing for continuing operation after the Sheep CRC closes its doors on June 30 this year.

Sheep CRC industry engagement co-ordinator Lu Hogan said this resulted in fewer rams being listed, prompting a rethink to the business strategy in order to maximise the number of rams listed and the value of RamSelect to ram buyers and the industry.

“For the next ram selling season there will be no charge for ram breeders to list their catalogues,” she said.

“Ram breeders can easily list their rams on RamSelect by checking the box when creating a catalogue in the sheep genetics database.

“For ram buyers, the $27.50 per year charge to hold a user account and store breeding objectives will remain, providing ram buyers with a cheap and effective place to store and analyse ram data and benchmark their genetics against the wider industry.

“With the number of account holders growing quickly, we believe this will place RamSelect on viable footing for the long term.”

Mrs Hogan said commercial producers who purchase a DNA flock profile test through Neogen will have their results reported through RamSelect and will receive 12 months free access to a RamSelect user account to assist with selecting rams based on the test results.

“A user account also makes it easy to keep track of the genetic merit of rams purchased each year and genetic improvement in your flock over time,” she said.

“User accounts also have the added benefit of automated updates of ASBVs on all rams so that it is easy to review and manage the ram team when planning for the next ram sales.”

Recent development work to the RamSelect system has been conducted through the University of New England’s Computation Analytics Software Informatics (CASI) team, which will continue to maintain and upgrade the software in the future under transition arrangements now in place between the CRC and UNE.

From July 1, UNE will also take over the business management of RamSelect, as well as the CRC’s other major digital innovation ASKBILL, ensuring they continue to service the sheep industry under a commercial delivery model.

More information is available at sheepcrc.org.au