Across-breed genetic evaluations in Ireland – Increasing the choice, increasing the genetic gain

Across-breed genetic evaluations in Ireland – Increasing the choice, increasing the genetic gain

At the recent Sheep Breeders Round Table conference in Derbyshire, England, Sheep Irelands Alan Bohan presented a poster on the work that has been done on Across-breed evaluations. The poster describes how  the across breed evaluation can compare animals regardless of their breed and is the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere.

The aim of the across breed evaluation is to rank all breeds on the same index and also to allow different breeds to be compared within the same flock. The accuracy of evaluations is also improved because the animals can be compared as one group on a farm rather than being split by breed and cross bred animals can also be evaluated. The across-breed evaluation was made possible using the data collected from the CPT and MALP flocks which allowed the comparison of many breeds within the same flock. In the across breed evaluation an animal’s breed composition is added to the evaluation and the evaluation is corrected for breed differences. The animals are then compared on all traits across the replacement and terminal indexes.

The poster outlined the benefits of the new across breed evaluation which included a more robust evaluation and improved evaluation accuracies of +4% on the terminal index and +3% on the replacement index. The across breed evaluation is available in all sale catalogues in the form of the €uro-star value of both the replacement and terminal index while the within breed evaluation is depicted in the form of the star rating. The overall aim and benefit of the new across breed evaluation is the fact that it gives farmers another tool to make more informed breeding decisions for their flock. The poster can be viewed by clicking here.

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