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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: National Animal Germplasm Program

Location: Plant And Animal Genetic Resources Preservation Research Unit

Title: Editor, Sheep Production Handbook, Chapter entitled ‘Reproduction’

item Purdy, Phil
item Inskeep, Keith -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 17, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Reproductive efficiency, or percentage of lamb crop raised and marketed, is the major factor affecting profitability of a sheep flock. Frequently, an increased reproductive rate will be the most efficient way to increase income rather than an increase in numbers of ewes. Consequently, increasing the percentage of lamb crop or pounds of lamb marketed should be a primary goal of U.S. producers. The first step in improving reproductive efficiency is realizing a flock’s genetic potential and exploiting this through effective management. Options include selecting for reproductive efficiency within the flock, switching to a more prolific breed, or developing a crossbreeding program that increases the genetic potential — approaches that are not mutually exclusive. There should also be consideration of reproductive soundness, assisted reproductive techniques, environmental conditions and management systems in the choice of breeds and selection programs. This chapter defines these factors and explains how they may be overcome or adapted to improve the reproductive efficiency and consequential productivity of a flock.

Last Modified: 11/26/2015
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