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 2015 10 producers consigned animals through the program to the WV Ram and Buck test. One producer enrolled in Lambplan becoming the first and only wool-sheep producer in WV capable of providing genetic information on his breeding stock. Two producer meetings were conducted in which the benefits os using genetically evaluated breeding stock was discussed.
Objective 1: To increase access to and use of genetically evaluated breeding stock we conducted 2 Ram-Test in which 10 producers participated. Additionally 1 producer, Mr. Mark Teets enrolled in Lambplan. With the support of the program Mr. Teets also purchased 2 rams from another producer that has superior genetics and is enrolled in Lambplan. Spring and a summer ram test have also been planned for 2016. We also plan to enroll another 4 producers in Lambplan in 2016 and support a producer in purchasing superior Katahdin genetics.
Objective 2: To increase use of genetic information in selection decisions we completed two educational workshops in spring 2015 (one in Pa and one in WV). Two one-day workshops are also planned for spring of 2016 and another 2 for fall 2016.
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 and will be publishing an article in the West Virginia Small Farm Advocate, Summer 2016 Edition.
Ten (10) producers committed to the project and participated in one of 2 ram-test
Hosted two (2) educational workshops
Hosted two (2) ram test
One (1) article was written and published online to inform producers of the project
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The program was able to support continued participation in the ram-test and in the acquisition of improved genetics. these activities will support the continued genetic improvement of sheep and increase access to improved sheep genetics. Additionally, the enrollment of another flock into lambplan will ensure that producers both locally and nationally have access to breeding stock with known genetic value and the opportunity to make better selection decisions based on estimated breeding values. These activities together with increasing awarness and capacity to use breeding values in selection decisions will contribute to improve productivity and increased profitability of sheep operations.
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