The ARDG are leading the New Zealand sheep industry in facial eczema tolerance research.
- In February 1969 breeders having contributed the top 1% of their flocks to the central flock run by Rex Alexander at Waiuku lambed 154%
- The following year 52% of that flock was lost with facial eczema.
- In 1979 the first field trials for FE testing were set up in South Auckland.
- In 1984 the first sporedesmin testing of rams for FE was set up.
As an indicator of the level of progress made by the ARDG in the first year 1985, the ARDG tested 21 rams at 0.1 (mg/kg) and got 16 rams that could tolerate that rate of challenge. In 2009 the ARDG tested 76 rams at 0.65 (mg/kg) to get the same sort of tolerance rate, that's over six times the challenge from its inception.
Currently the ARDG members all contribute their top 15 rams on production, facial eczema and worm resilient combined breeding value indexes to be tested. From these results the top 20 twotooths regardless of whose property they originate are used by the 5 members of the ARDG across their recorded flocks as well as 5-8 mixed aged rams which are swapped around to maintain genetic links. No sires regardless of production traits are used across the recorded flocks unless they have been tested at .65 (mg/kg) and passed.
For the latest facial eczema results in the Central Progeny Test please click here.