Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Webinar today to discuss Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)

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Dr. Dave Notter, Department of Animal Science, Virginia Tech University, will discuss “Using EBVs to Achieve Your Breeding Goals” in a webinar today at 7:00 p.m. CDT. Estimated Breeding Values are a progeny performance prediction based on individual pedigree data compared to breed average. A 2.2 EBV for weaning weight, for instance, indicates an animal’s offspring will likely weigh 2.2 pounds more at weaning than breed average.

It will be a very good program on how to utilize performance data to improve your herds. It will focus on sheep but all the concepts are applicable to goats. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) also offers its service to goat producers and will calculate EBVs for goats. More information on the National Sheep Improvement Program can be found at www.nsip.org.

“We started using this last year along with the Goat Herd Improvement Program (GHIP) that I do here,” said Dr. Kenneth Andries, assistant professor at Kentucky State University. “The use of data in goat production becomes more and more critical as we look ahead at ways to improve. It’s the best way to realize value.” 

Today’s webinar will address strategies to use EBVs to achieve breeding goals and manage genetic change in your flock. Topics to be covered include: 1) using direct and maternal EBVs to manage changes in body weights from birth through adulthood; 2) optimizing litter size to maximize ewe productivity; 3) using EBVs to optimize fleece value and the rate of improvement in fleece traits; 4) using scanning information to enhance carcass value; 5) using worm egg counts to enhance parasite resistance; and 6) using EBVs to improve reproductive performance. 

Selection indexes provides a convenient mechanism to combine EBVs for different traits into a single measure and are currently available for each of the main NSIP breed types. The presentation will discuss the value of indexes as tools for genetic improvement and consider how to address limitations of available indexes in specific production situations. 

This webinar is made possible with funding support from the Let's Grow Committee of the American Sheep Industry Association.

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