Through the resolution of March 25, 2022 of the General Directorate of Production and Agricultural Markets, the new Merino Sheep Breeding Program was approved, subsequently published in the BOE on April 5, 2022:

State official newsletter

In this sense, it is worth highlighting the effort that has been involved in all the work carried out to achieve the closure of the Genealogical Book, whose ultimate goal is none other than the improvement and promotion of the native Merino breed, supported by the purity of its Genetic Heritage, avoiding allochthonous genetic contamination that devalues its potential and genetic development.

As novelties with respect to the previous Program, the new Breeding Program

  1. It pays special attention to the breed’s wool production, applying a specific Yield Control for it.
  2. In relation to the Genealogical Book, in regards to the Annex Section A (SA-A), where base animals are registered: Females of the Merino breed (without variety), Males and Females of the Black varieties and Montes Universales of the Merino breed. They are those that meet the requirements indicated for registration in this Section (animals from 8 months of age and with a minimum of 65 points in the morphological qualification) of which one or neither of their parents is known, being regulated accordingly. the following way:
  • This Section will remain closed to the Merino breed (without variety) for the entry of animals, once the established transition period has elapsed, consisting of one calendar year, counting from the date of publication of this Breeding Program in the BOE . (Transition period from April 5, 2022 to April 5, 2023) , from which time this Section will remain solely for the management of animals that were registered before the end date of the transition period. Exception to the rule for Annex Section A (SA-A), it will be open only for the registration of females affiliated by genotyping, in the Merino breed (without variety), without conclusive result of one or several parents.

At the same time, it has also continued to bet on meat production, a field in which it had been working with Yield Controls during the last decades. Although, in this sense, the methodology for Yield Control has been replaced. To this end, the simplified CML Linear Morphological Rating has been established as a novelty, following the CML philosophy of French sheep (rating of each trait as a deviation from the population mean: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2) for the main traits related to carcass conformation.

In the same way, special attention has been paid to the Conservation Programs for the varieties in Danger of Extinction of the Merino breed, as a novelty with respect to the previous one, in addition to contemplating the Black variety, the Montes Universales variety has also been included.  

The new Breeding Program also continues to offer the option of working, on a voluntary basis, regarding the Selection for the increase of genetic resistance to Scrapie (through selection in favor of the ARR allele and against the VRQ allele).

Finally, within the new Breeding Program, the Dissemination of the breed has also been considered as a fundamental pillar for achieving the objectives set.

Once the Contest concluded, the corresponding Act was published, detailing each of the award-winning farms, highlighting the prizes for Best Farm, Champion of Spain.

From the Association, we want to thank the participation of all the farms that have presented animals and congratulate the winners and encourage the rest of the associates to prepare their animals for the next Contest, which will take place during the celebration of the next Livestock Contest of Zafra in Spring 2023.