Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock

Breeding sheep for a more profitable flock will be the focus of a comprehensive seminar on defining and selecting traits that can increase profits in sheep production. OSIA in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry’s genetic stakeholders committee has planned a two day regional genetics symposium for July 10 and 11, 2010 at Riverwood Farms, Powell, OH.

This conference will feature three of the most nationally recognized sheep geneticists in the United States: Dr. David Notter, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Kreg Leymaster, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Dr. David Thomas, University of Wisconsin. The Saturday morning session begins with a focus on the basics of animal breeding which will include a discussion of cross breeding systems and their ability to enhance performance through increased hybrid vigor. Followed by a discussion of sheep breeds, both hair and wool, and how they function within the wide variety of sheep production and marketing systems that are found in the Midwest. The presenters will address breeding programs for management systems ranging from grass based to total confinement and marketing goals that range from producing roaster lambs to 140# finished lambs. For the convenience of participants, these morning sessions will be repeated on Sunday morning.

The Saturday afternoon sessions will begin with a look at EPD’s (Expected Progeny Differences) and how they can be used in the evaluation and selection of sheep. Participants will have hands on opportunity to evaluate animals by visual appraisal and with objective measurements such as weaning weights, twinning ability, and loin eye area scans. Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Parker of the Ohio State University will moderate a question and answer panel which will include discussion on genomics, parasite and foot rot resistance, and the myostatin and callipge genes. Optional sessions will include getting started and participating in NSIP (National Sheep Improvement program), dairy sheep genetics, and tours of Riverwood Farms.

For all those who are interested in continuing the discussions of the day, a Saturday evening reception and dinner will be held at the farm. The dinner is the only segment of the program where pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Contact Roger A. High, Executive Director, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, 614-246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org for a detailed registration brochure.

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