Yearling With Lamb
We entered our first sheep on LambPlan in 1999. Through the use of artificial insemination and White Dorper semen from Australia we have genetic ties to a large number of White Dorpers. Our sheep are compared with the White Dorpers on LambPlan in Australia and our EBVs are reported as ASBVs. In the U.S., NSIP data is processed by LambPlan, but to our knowledge, we are the only Dorper or W. Dorper breeders in the U.S. currently providing EBVs on their sheep. Hopefully this will change since U.S. Dorpers and White Dorpers are in the unique position of having good genetic ties with a greater number of sheep since the breeds are the same in both countries.
The traits we measure for submission to LambPlan are birth weight (BWT), weaning weight (WWT), postweaning weight (PWT), postweaning fat depth (PFAT), postweaning eye muscle depth (PEMD), and yearling weight on rams (YWT). Lambs are raised in contemporary groups and maintained under the same management conditions to avoid differences due to environment.
We have our lambs scanned for eye muscle depth (PEMD) and fat (PFAT) at the most likely harvest weight and age for the breed. For our flock this is at post weaning. We use a LambPlan certified scanning technician.
Why do we go to all this trouble to obtain EBVs on our sheep?
Well, above all, it makes sure we are going in the right direction as far as production traits for profitability. It helps us make mating decisions, it aids with culling and replacement decisions and, for our sale sheep, it helps assure our buyers that they’re getting good EBVs on traits important to them.
Over the last ten years we’ve entered 2,325 animals on LambPlan and have increased our average Post Weaning Weight ASBV from 6.0 to 8.4. Our average Post Weaning Eye Muscle Depth average increased from 1.28 to 1.77 and our MCP (Maternal Carcass Production) Index from an average of 129.1 to 133.2.
Early experience has shown that growth rate and muscle traits tend to be antagonistic in sheep. Selection for growth rate alone could lead to decreased muscle and carcass value. We have worked hard to bring these two important traits up in value together, along with maternal weaning weight (MWWT).
We are willing to provide LambPlan performance records on our sheep for those interested. This data can be accessed from the LambPlan Search engine. Contact us if you would like ASBVs and pedigree information on our rams and we would be glad to show you how to access this information.
The best place to get an overall explanation of LambPlan and ASBV’s can be found at www.lambplan.com.au.