A low, squat, wide, brick of an animal will be the efficient breeding ewe of 2027, according to sheep scientist Mark Ferguson.
Dr Ferguson, from New Zealand, is urging Australian commercial producers to open their minds to this futuristic concept over the next decade.
‘‘If we want to breed a profitable sheep, we must learn to like what it looks like,’’ Dr Ferguson said.
He said the drive for maternal efficiency and selection for muscling would change maturity pattern and shape.
‘‘Mature ewe size is reduced, the face is plainer, and the shape has gone from a big frame to a low, squat, wide, brick of an animal,’’ he said.
‘‘They are positive for muscle and fat, and robust (animals).’’
Dr Ferguson said the rams bought this year would impact on a producer’s business for the next 10 years.
‘‘If you are looking at ram prices today, that is not relevant to your breeding program,’’ he said.
‘‘Think about the trends and what has changed from 10 years ago to now, and make some predictions about what will change in the future.’’
Dr Ferguson said the plant-based protein movement would confront the lamb industry over the next decade.
‘‘This is not a flash in the pan — it has about $400million worth of investment,’’ he said.
‘‘People are producing meat without having any animals involved.
‘‘They will take market share but I don’t think they will wipe out meat consumption.’’
He said organics was now a major movement winning significant market share.