Developing Breeding Objectives for Targhee Sheep
Breeding objectives were developed for Targhee sheep at different levels of prolificacy and triplet survival. Economic weights (EW) were derived for estimated breeding values (BV) from National Sheep Improvement Program genetic evaluations for 120 d weaning weight (WW), maternal milk (MM), yearling weight (YW), fleece weight (FW), fiber diameter (FD), staple length (SL), and prolificacy (PLC; lambs born/100 ewes lambing). A commercial flock was simulated, accounting for nonlinear relationships between performance and profit. Ewes were assumed mated to sires of specified BV and profit was derived from lifetime performance of lambs and replacement females from that lamb crop. Economic weights were determined as change in profit from use of sires with BV that were one additive standard deviation above the mean for each trait [1.98 kg for WW, 1.62 kg for MM, 2.90 kg for YW, 0..36 kg for FW, 0.99 microns for FD, 0.74 cm for SL, and 17.58 lambs/100 ewes for LC], while holding all other BV at breed average. Separate breeding objectives were derived for different ways of meeting increased nutrient needs (P = purchase hay, R = rent pasture, and L= limited flock size) and for different market lamb values (D = discounting lamb value for heavy weights, ND = no discount for heavy lambs). Based on replicated simulations, relative EW did not vary with prolificacy or triplet survival (P > 0.15) but were affected by feed costs and lamb market values (P < 0.01). Selection indexes were derived within and across simulated scenarios, and correlation (r) among indexes of > 0.90 indicated that an index could be used across multiple scenarios with little loss of selection efficiency. Indexes derived within feed cost scenarios (P, R, and L) and lamb value scenarios (D, ND) were strongly intercorrelated (r > 0.97). Correlations among average indexes for feed cost scenarios (0.97 for R and P, 0.70 for R and L; 0.85 for P and L) indicated that two feed cost scenarios could be used depending on whether winter forage was limited (L) or not (NL). The correlation between average indexes for these two scenarios was 0.78. Indexes were presented for combinations of feed cost and lamb value scenarios. Two indexes were suggested, representing the scenarios that apply to a large portion of Targhee producers. These indexes were for discounting heavy lambs with limited winter forage (D-L: 1.0 WW + 0.14 MM â 0.76 YW + 1.22 FW â 0.36 FD - 0.09 SL + 0.25 LC) and discounting heavy lambs with additional available forage (D-NL: 1.0 WW + 0.24 MM â 0.34 YW + 1.65 FW â 0.41 FD - 0.14 SL + 0.33 LC). For a standardized selection differential of one for the index, the expected changes in mean index value were $2.17 and $1.92 per ewe per generation for D-L and D-NL, respectively.