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Accuracy of €uroStars, what is it and how can it be increased?

Each trait and index value has an accuracy (Acc) attached to it and this figure is simply a representation of the amount of data available on that particular animal and his/her relatives. Put simply, the higher the accuracy figure, the greater the amount of information there is behind that €uroStar value and the greater confidence a breeder can have in it.

For the 2021 LambPlus ram sale, each ram must have 5 Stars on the Replacement and/or Terminal index with a corresponding accuracy of at least 50%. This is an increased accuracy requirement from 35% in 2020. This higher requirement may worry some breeders but there is one key difference in 2021 in that all rams entering the sale must be genotyped.

Genotyping an animal will increase index accuracy by 15 to 20%.

It is very important that breeders are aware of this because they may believe that rams they plan to bring to the 2021 LambPlus ram sale will not meet the 50% index accuracy criteria but genotyping the animal will increase index accuracies and in many cases will result in the ram being eligible for the sale.

As always, good data recording of flock performance across the year will also help to improve accuracies so breeders should also ensure that all lambs have their 40, 100 and 150 day weights recorded across the summer months.

How does Genotyping affect accuracy?

When an animal is genotyped, we can look at their DNA to see what genes they have inherited from their parents. The €uroStar value for a non-genotyped animal is calculated based on the average of both parents, which assumes all full siblings have inherited the exact same DNA, which is not true except in the case of identical twins. Genotyping allows us to look at the genes an animal has inherited from both its fathers and mother side of the family and using this we can say that they are very closely related to particular bloodlines in their extended family, and this improves the accuracy of the €uroStar value.

How do I genotype an Animal?

Genotyping an animal is a straightforward process and the genotype must be ordered through your Sheep Ireland account (Click here to see how to order a genotype online). Once you order your genotype, the tag will arrive within 3-5 working days, at which point the tissue sample can be taken from the ear of the animal. Special care should be taken to ensure the correct animal is sampled by ensuring the animals tag number matches that on the genotype tag. The vial containing the tissue is then sent to the lab in the pre-addressed envelope provided and you will receive your results in three to four weeks.

As it can take up to one month from the sample arriving in the lab to the ram having a genomic evaluation, we would advise that potential rams for the sale are genotype sampled no later than June 15th, to allow sufficient time for rams to be re-sampled in the event of the sample failing the quality test at the lab.

If you would like more information on genotyping and its benefits, Click Here.