What is Central Progeny Testing (CPT) and What are the Benefits?

What is Central Progeny Testing (CPT) and What are the Benefits?

What is the CPT?

The Central Progeny Test (CPT) was set up not as a breed comparison, but rather as a ram and trait comparison. It is focused on identifying our best sheep genetics regardless of breed.  The CPT provides the basis for assessing a large number of rams, and linking this information to an even wider number of animals throughout that breed’s pedigree history.

The CPT was first started in 2009 with 30 Rams from 5 Breeds used through AI across 2100 ewes. In the breeding season of 2020 there was 29 rams successfully used for AI across 5 different breeds and on 4 different flocks. All rams are sourced from active LambPlus Flocks based on the number of relatives the ram has in other LambPlus flocks and their Replacement index along with other criteria. Performance data will be collected on all the resulting lambs & this information will be included in each ram’s individual evaluation along with its relatives evaluations.

The CPT flocks make up the majority of the commercial data that Sheep Ireland collects along with data from some of the Teagasc BETTER Farm flocks and some independent flocks also. Each year, there are 2,100 CPT ewes Artificially Inseminated using high Replacement index stock rams sourced from performance recording pedigree breeders. The data that is collected on these CPT lambs then feeds back into the national database and contributes to the evaluations of their sires helping to build accuracy %. The CPT sires will also sire rams that will be available for commercial farmers to purchase that year.


What are the Benefits of your Ram being Involved in the CPT?

The Central Progeny Test programme has generated a huge amount of sheep performance data since its foundation in 2009. This data can be now be used to assess the differences between high €uroStar and low €uroStar sheep. The most recent look at this data has shown very encouraging results. The table below shows some of the differences in performance that is happening in the CPT. The star ratings used in the validation were those of the Sire and Dam at mating time on either the Replacement or Terminal index. We can see that the 5 Star animals outperform the 1 Stars across all the traits, and this is why indexes are so important. With out indexes (Replacement/Terminal) it would be very difficult to make improvements in all areas without having an negative impact on another. While the difference in one particular trait may not appear significant, its when we combine all these differences together that a real difference in overall flock performance can be seen.

The differences in the on-farm performance on the Replacement and Terminal indexes on CPT sheep across a number of key performance traits. When the above gains are combined and applied across an individual flock, it is clear that there are significant benefits available for Irish sheep farmers. Furthermore, if these gains can be applied nationally, our industry can make great progress using sheep genetic indexes.

When a ram has been involved in the CPT, the accuracy of his and his progenies genetic evaluations increase significantly. This means that there is high volume of data collected on his bloodline, making his €urostars more accurate. Farmers benefit hugely, as they can place more confidence in using bloodlines that have been performance recorded in the CPT as there has been significant data recorded on that particular bloodline. Genetic gains will remain in a flock into the future and can be built on year on year, so the potential for long term improvement is huge.

Sheep Ireland are still accepting offers of rams for the 2018 CPT breeding season, avoid missing out by contacting Sheep Ireland by Telephone on 023 882 0451 or by email at [email protected]. Contact us today to avoid missing the opportunity of being involved in the CPT.

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