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 2016 4 additional producers enrolled in Lambplan. Two full-day workshops were conducted, the first was facilitated by Russell Burgett Program Director of the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) and 3 additional producer meetings were conducted in WV (2) and PA (1) in which the benefits of using genetically evaluated breeding stock were discussed.
Objective 1: To increase access to and use of genetically evaluated breeding stock we conducted 1 Ram-Test and 10 genetically evaluated rams and 25 ewes were made available to producers. The program also supported the acquisition of two genetically evaluated rams from producers enrolled in Lambplan. We will be assisting producers in purchasing a record keeping system to further support evaluation of breeding stock.
We also enrolled 4 producers in Lambplan in 2016. In 2017 we plan to assist in getting an additional 4 producers enrolled, conduct another Ram Test and support producers in purchasing superior genetics from farms enrolled in Lambplan and acquire data recording systems.
Objectives 2&3: To increase awareness and use of genetic information in selection decisions we completed Two (2) full-day educational workshops in spring 2016 which was jointly facilitated by Russell Burgett Program Director of NSIP. Three additional producer meetings were conducted in WV and PA. Another Full day workshop is scheduled for February 11th 2017 and will again be facilitated by the Director of the NSIP.
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 4 additional flocks 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 awareness and capacity to use breeding values in selection decisions will contribute to improve productivity and increased profitability of sheep operations.
Ten (10) producers committed to the project
Hosted four (4) educational activities
Hosted one (1) ram test
Producers acquired 2 rams with known genetic information
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