Type: Chapter

Advances in sheep breeding


Julius van der Werf

University of New England

Andrew Swan

University of New England

Robert Banks

University of New England

Publication date:

25 September 2017

ID: 9781838792633

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This chapter summarises early developments in sheep breeding programmes, with the main emphasis on the Australian industry. It will examine common current breeding practices such as objective trait measurement, flock genetic evaluation and the development of breeding objectives based on rational economic analysis. The chapter shows that breeding programmes for dairy, meat and wool sheep differ in how well the main breeding objective traits can be measured on breeding animals. This has a major impact on the rate of genetic progress that can be achieved as well as on the economic sustainability of technologies such as progeny testing, artificial insemination and genomic selection. The chapter mainly focuses on wool and meat sheep breeding programmes, with a discussion on the implementation and adoption of genetic evaluation systems, the development of breeding objectives and the recent developments towards uptake of genomic selection.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Early sheep breeding programmes: the case of Australia
3 Genetic evaluation systems in sheep breeding
4 Cross-breeding of sheep
5 Use of new technologies in sheep breeding
6 Genomic selection of sheep
7 Sheep breeding objectives and target traits
8 Future trends and conclusion
9 Where to look for further information
10 References