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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Characterization of Sheep Breeds and Development of Composite Lines Suitable for Range Environements

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
In a range sheep production environment, evaluate different biological types of sheep for reproductive efficiency, rate and efficiency of growth, carcass composition, meat quality, and mature size. Use quantitative genetic methods to identify physical and physiological criteria for enhancing reproductive efficiency and other economically important traits, including meat quality, quantity, and flavor.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Reproductive efficiency, rate and efficiency of growth, carcass composition, meat quality, and mature size will be evaluated for different biological types of sheep in a range sheep production environment. New genetic information gained from these evaluations on traits affecting production efficiency, and the relationship of the traits to growth and carcass characteristics, will be used to develop new composite terminal sire lines. These sire lines will be used with appropriate maternal lines to meet target market specifications for commercial lambs and produce more desirable end products that meet consumer demands, without sacrificing reproductive efficiency. Documents SCA with Virginia Poly Inst. & State U.


3.Progress Report

Characterization of sheep breeds and development of composite lines suitable for range environments: The U.S. sheep industry lacks paternal genetic lines that will enable the industry to adequately address current and future grower, feeder, packer, retailer, and consumer demands for market lambs and their byproducts. U.S. Sheep Experiment Station scientists and their collaborator at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) have completed the data-collection phase of a 3-year study to characterize Columbia-, USMARC Composite-, Suffolk-, and Texel-sired F1 lambs for traits of survival, growth, feed efficiency, carcass composition, and meat quality. The data are currently being analyzed, and manuscripts will be written and submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals in 2010 and 2011. New genetic information gained from this study of traits that affect production efficiency, and the relationship of the traits to growth and carcass characteristics, will be used to develop new composite terminal sire lines of sheep. These sire lines will be used with appropriate maternal lines to meet target market specifications for commercial lambs and produce more desirable end products that meet consumer demands. ADODR monitoring statement: Continued correspondence occurs by phone and email.


Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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