Enhancing productivity of sheep through greater access and use of genetically evaluated
Little improvement has occurred in the productivity of the US sheep over the last three decades in part due to limited access to and use of genetically evaluated breeding stock.
The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) recently adopted the Lambplan genetic evaluation system which producers faster access to a larger number of economically important traits. However, only 4 flocks from WV and surrounding states are enrolled in NSIP. To address this problem we proposed to encourage and train producers to make selection decisions based on genetic information and increase access to genetically superior animals by supporting the enrollment of flocks in NSIP/Lambplan, and consignment of lambs from registered flocks into the WV Ram and Buck Test.
During August to December 2014 we were able to secure commitments from 10 producers to both consign animals to the WV Ram and Buck test and to enroll in the Lambplan program, one producer have already enrolled in Lambplan. A brief article explaining the benefits of the project have been written and placed on the WV small ruminant project (WVSRP) website.
Spring and summer ram tests and two spring workshops have been planned.
Objective 1: To increase access to and use of genetically evaluated breeding stock we have visited with producers discussed the project and have received commitments from 10 producers. Additionally 1 producer, Mr. Mark Teets enrolled in NSIP in December. A spring and a summer ram test have also been planned.
Objective 2: To increase use of genetic information in selection decisions we completed plans to host two educational workshops in spring 2015 (one in Pa and one in WV). These workshops will be conducted using personnel from NSIP. We have contacted producers and extension agents and are in the process of selecting the most optimum date and location for the workshops.
Objective 3: To increase awareness of the benefits of using genetically evaluated breeding stock we have written and published an announcement on the WVSRP’s website.
- Visited with 12 producers and discussed the project and record keeping requirements. Ten (10) producers committed to the project.
- Planned educational workshops and ram test (potential speakers identified and workshop content finalized).
- One (1) article was written and published online to inform producers of the project
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Varying levels of interest in and knowledge of the NSIP/lambplan program was detected among the producers contacted. In particular producers were concerned about the recording requirements and their ability to input records into the system. These concerns were taken into account in designing our workshops. In particular we plan to have some one-on-one training in computer labs to assist producers in navigating through the Lambplan software.
Extension agent and farmer
7303 Sharpsburgh Pike
Boomsboro, PA 21713
Office Phone: 3017911304
113 Virginia Avenue
Petersburgh, WV 26847
Office Phone: 3048743561
Aurora, WV 26705
Office Phone: 3046987197
West Virginia University
1044 Ag. Science Building
Morgantown, WV 26506
Office Phone: 3042931946