Ram Selection Information and Resources
CWGA Range Ram Index – California Wool Growers Association (CWGA)
The Range Ram Index developed by California Wool Growers Association was developed to improve sheep carcass quality and increase the practice of genetic selection in commercial range operations. The Range Ram Index will utilize ultrasound carcass measurements collected at the 2016 California Ram Sale to measure the expected value return of the heritability of carcass characteristics of a range ram through its progeny.
Shopping by the Numbers – National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP)
The process of buying a ram isn’t what it used to be. New tools for flock genetic improvement have changed the landscape and expanded the possibilities. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) was established to provide estimated breeding values (EBVs) to seedstock producers. EBVs assign a number value to the genetic merit of a breeding sheep for certain production traits, allowing for quick and easy comparisons between rams. There are EBVs for body weight at different ages, carcass measurements, reproduction, parasite resistance, and wool.
What Are EBVs?
EBVs are science-based, industry-tested measurements of heritable traits that can be tracked and measured. For those familiar with Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) used in cattle, EBVs are very similar. EPDs denotes the breeding value of an individual animal’s progeny whereas EBVs denote the value of the individual animal. More simply, EBVs equal EPDs times two.
To learn more visit – http://nsip.org/nsip-resources-2/estimated-breeding-values/
NSIP Ram Buying Guide; Use EBVs to Select Rams & Reach Production Goals – National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP)
The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) has a new, convenient tool available to help the commercial producer utilize the technology. The guide offers explanations of EBVs and data indexes, directions on their use, and a worksheet to help producers collect and organize data and priorities. The guide provides a three-step process to ram selection based on NSIP EBVs.
Use Genetics to Increase Lambing Percentage
Lambing percentage (prolificacy, number born, lambs born per ewe lambing) is one of the most important factors affecting profitability of a sheep enterprise, regardless of geographic location or production system.
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Increasing Lamb Output via Crossbreeding
Most reproductive traits such as lambs born and pounds weaned are lowly heritable. This means that management and environment greatly impact number born and weaned within a breed. Crossbreeding increases output via beneficial effects of hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is the improved production of a crossbred individual compared to the average of its purebred parents.
Click here for more information - http://d1cqrq366w3ike.cloudfront.net/http/DOCUMENT/SheepUSA/increasing_lamb_output.pdf
Best Practices to Increase Productivity for Lamb Producers
Lambs sold per ewe is the biggest influence on profitability, and implementing the new Best Practices to Increase Your Lamb Crop gives sheep producers more control over price volatility, according to the panel of sheep producers and production experts who developed the best practices.
Best practices are a cornerstone of many industries – from computer manufacturing to education – and guide processes to achieve a desired result. For the lamb industry, Productivity Best Practices identify ways to produce more with comparable resources, which is a critical component of profitability.
For example, the lamb crop best practice topics include optimizing nutrition, selecting prolific genetics, culling underperforming ewes, pregnancy testing, disease prevention and reducing lamb loss. Another best practice involves breeding ewe lambs at the age of seven to nine months so they lamb at or near their first birthday. Research shows ewes that give birth to their first lamb before they are yearlings tend to be more productive throughout their lifetime compared to those that first lamb as yearlings.
To make best practice information is available on the U.S. Lamb Resource Center website at - http://lambresourcecenter.com/production-resources/best-practice-resources/
The sheep industry is dependent on providing safe, high-quality products to each and every customer. American Sheep Industry Association designed the Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance Program (SSQA) to generate safe, hig quality sheep products by improving management practices during production.
To learn more about becoming SSQA certified visit - http://www.sheepusa.org/IssuesPrograms_Programs_Ssqa
To download the SSQA handbook visit - http://lambresourcecenter.com/production-resources/quality-assurance/