As a generational livestock farmer or breeder, you may be familiar with Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), which are primarily used for cattle. But Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) help improve sheep genetics. Continue reading to review the most frequently asked questions about Estimated Breeding Values, and where to find top quality lamb genetics near you.
What are Estimated Breeding Values?
Estimated Breeding Values, or EBV’s for short, are measurements of genetic traits that can be tracked and measured. Not only are these measurements science-based and industry-tested, they are proven to enhance breeding results and annual yields.
What is the Purpose of EBV’s?
EBV’s are primarily used to help sheep achieve their full genetic potential through genetic predictability. They allow us to see all the economically important traits that our eyes cannot. Visual inspections alone are not enough to provide detailed information of an animal’s genetics and their progeny. We need more data to make good breeding decisions. Estimated Breeding Values provide this data by accurately predicting if an animal will pass on significant traits like growth rate, reproductive proficiency, carcass quality, wool quality, and parasite resistance, and more.
How are Estimated Breeding Values Determined?
First, performance data must be produced and collected on site. Once the data is adjusted to reflect certain variables, such as flock management techniques, it can be converted into actionable genetic information. EBVs are calculated on more than just the performance of the individual animal; they are also calculated on the performance of related animals in the same flock, as well as related animals in other flocks.
How Can I Incorporate Estimated Breeding Values?
As a sheep farmer, you can use this information to genetically enhance your flocks by balancing the right traits, such as growth traits, which include birth weight, weaning weight, post-weaning weight, and yearling weight. With the use of EBV’s, sheep farmers can increase profitability and production overtime.