New Research in Sheep Breeding

New Research in Sheep Breeding

Fiona McGovern outlined some of the research to be carried out over the next 2-3 years in relation to Sheep breeding at the Sheep Ireland Industry Meeting held on Monday 29th April 2019 in Tullamore Court Hotel, County Offaly. The synopsis of Fiona’s presentation on the day are outlined below. View Fiona’s full presentation from the day here.

Before any research is undertaken into a new trait it is important that if fulfills some important criteria. The trait much be:

  1. Socially or economically important
  2. Exhibits genetic variation (heritable)
  3. Be capable of measurable it on a large scale

In the presentation we can see some of the areas when research that will be undertaken over the next number of years, with a strong emphasis on traits that impact on GHG emissions and ewe efficiency. This is to ensure that the Irish sheep industry is ready to face any new challenges that may come from future legislation in this area.




This project covers Dairy, Beef and Sheep. Its aim is to develop, validate and deploy the necessary tools and optimal strategies to achieve sustainable and quantifiable genetic gain through environmental and economic efficiency.

Two of the main elements of the project is development and validation of a protocol for feed intake and methane emissions from sheep. This project will be using some of the latest advancements in sciences, with the hope that results of this work can then be incorporated into the national breeding programme once the research is complete.

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