problems in US sheep

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Postby woolpuller » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:37 am

Very good Darroll.
To bad more people do not take data seriously. If they did there would be a vast improvement in the North American sheep industry
high performance, high health, high biosecurity, a truly closed Suffolk Flock
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Postby Island Shepherd » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:33 am

http://www.scottish-blackface.co.uk/

Go to breed news and scroll down to check out the prices of some of the sires that these females are in lamb to. I think the British pound is worth twice our money right now isn't it? Or at least half again. This is one of the "cheapest" way a working man can a chance at getting top shelf bloodlines by buying an inlamb gimmer and hoping for a Tup lamb. Because top tup lambs can go for 20-50 L. All based on EBV's for performance traits. It pays because a good tup can pass on these economic traits and soon pay for himself with interest. With careful breeding the genetic improvement continues with each generation. LAI to Blackface Elite sires has payed off for us in overall flock improvement and better prices for seedstock sold off the farm.

Dave
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Postby Muleflock » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:04 am

Bill Fosher wrote:. The neck, as we all know, is a very low value part of the carcass, so why select long ones, thereby making a low value cut a larger percentage of the overall carcass?


Hi Bill/Mary

Frame composition must be related to breed function and not used as a generalization. We are way too used to putting all our sheep breeds into one category and then using tunnel vision to select for what the expected outcome is. A hill bred, is not a maternal sire breed, is not a terminal sire breed and none of them are composite breeds.

For maternal sire breeds, at least in the BFL, the longer the neck, the longer the loin. One of the expected traits to be passed on to his Mule daughters is frame extension. The Mules relatively tubular body as compared to her dam allows for increased ease of lambing when passing out bulky terminal sired lambs while her overall increase in abdominal capacity allows for multiple lambs. So, this is one of the criteria evaluated in a progeny class of maternal sires.

Would I select for a Suffolk with pencil legs and body shaped like a dart? Nope. Would I grab a NCC, SBF, or /Clun without a good ol' tank in the middle with the expectation that they'll pass on good forage conversion? Never! Do we select for long tubular bodies in the BFL... :wink:
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Postby woolpuller » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:31 pm

Hi Mark L:
Your comments are good.
" her dam allows for increased ease of lambing "
This statement for Suffolks is the major downfall of the UK Suffolk and one of the items that the NZ/ or Au Suffolk excels.
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Postby Janet McNally » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:27 pm

Darroll, etc,

I am pleased to report that I have seen a definite increase in the number of people who are willing to use the EBVs as their primary guide when selecting rams. Maybe 5 years ago, the people willing to use the EBVs were a minority, but today, they are pretty much the majority of our ram buyers. I think this is a very possitive trend. But it sure has taken a long time to get there!

Incidently we routinely put our mature rams with 75 or 100 ewes and expect them to settle in 21 days. I also expect them to hold up for many years in farm flock settings. Although we have some rams west of the Missouri river, I have not yet had any rams go into range flock settings.

Janet
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Postby lovetree » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:48 pm

Hi Mark,
I did not intend to insult you with any comments about long neck sheep...I was referring to judges picking out sheep based on cosmetic value versus performance characteristics. When Bill used the term"tubular' I had the mental image of a club lamb that looked more liker a hot dog than a representative of a performance terminal breed....no rumen and no decent carcass to speak of. I cant for the likes of me understand the club lamb phenomena with beasts getting rewarded for looking like long distance runners raised on gatorade...would take some very loooooooong aging to make those babies tender!
By the way I totally agree with a long bodied ewe...but are you sure you want to use the term "tubular" to describe your sheep?
I would think that "long bodied with ample carrying capacity" may give a more positive mental image ;-)
Mary Falk / LoveTree Farmstead
home of the dual purpose Trade Lake Sheep and the nationally celebrated Trade Lake Cedar Cheese
NW Wisconsin
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Postby Muleflock » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:33 pm

Hey Mary,

Absolutely no insult taken here! And I couldn't agree with you more about the tubes being produced on liquid diets to avoid roughage. It's insane!

A right, sound, full bodied BFL ewe will be a tube for the first 18 months. She'll be three years in the making before she's a full figured gall. The ewes who are thick at an early age, mature early and never reach the full size as compared to the ones that just seem to grow longer and longer for a while before they broaden. Of course we are only allowed to show yearlings in this country, so they will usually look like tubes.
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Postby lovetree » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:52 pm

Hi Mark,
I dont doubt that the girls have a rather elongated appearance,
I am just referring to the marketing angle of the subject.
Perhaps we could find a more positive descriptive word for them rather than ...tubular???
From a marketing standpoint...the only time I have ever heard the word mentioned in the sheep industry was in the negative sense as in referencing those crazy club lambs and I would think that you would want to put as much distance between your product (your ewes) and those as possible.
Besides Mark, the word "tubular' is so very ... er, uhh,
hmm ...mechanical... bordering on clinical. ;-)
I just think..(IMHO) that your sheep deserve a little more positive descriptive phraseology.
Mary Falk / LoveTree Farmstead
home of the dual purpose Trade Lake Sheep and the nationally celebrated Trade Lake Cedar Cheese
NW Wisconsin
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Postby BK-Ohio » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:51 pm

All right all you club lamb bashers, you are not exactly correct. All good feeders know that in order to make one grow, you need to feed some hay to keep the rumen going. Yes, some of the more inexperienced feeders think it can be done with liquid, but they aren't winning any big shows. I helped my daughter feed out Champ and Reserve at our county with no liquid diet. In fact, the ration was a simple one with corn, oats beans and some molasses. They looked great and beat some high dollar sheep. I did pull the hay out the last week to shrink the belly a little to make them balance a little better, but that's it. Didn't even pull any water at all, because we know that a hydrated sheep is a fresh handling one. I realize that there are some shady things being done in the industry, just don't dump us all together. I still value production or I wouldn't frequent this site.
Brad K.

I'd put the pics on here if I could figure out how to do it. Oh well, they were nice lambs....
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Postby Bill Fosher » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:24 pm

Hi Brad,

What's your cost of production on those Champ and Reserve?

I'm not saying that all sheep in the show ring are bad ones, or even that the ones that win are necessarily bad ones -- just that the show ring as an institution has no particular incentive to produce sheep that would be useful to the commercial sheep business.

Nor did I intend to say that everyone who raises club lambs engages in the practices I mentioned -- just attempting to show the lengths that people will go to in their efforts to keep sheep from looking like ruminants.

Mark,

There may be some circumstances where a long neck is a byproduct of some other trait like the ones you mention, but when folks are breeding for a long neck in and of itself, something's wrong.
Bill Fosher
Westmoreland, NH
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Postby BK-Ohio » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:25 pm

Bill,
You are right in your assessment about the general club lamb industry. It has irritated me for quite a while that my industry has ignored production traits. Heck, I went on the record with this assessment in one of the widest publicized magazines in the club lamb industry, the "Purple Circle".

I have not figured out what the cost to feed those two lambs were, but they didn't get any "show lamb" feed. Just a custom mixture that I was feeding the ewe lambs to grow them out.
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Postby woolpuller » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:53 pm

What gets me is how the club lamb plays with weights to get them into the correct weight class. Some are feed excessive, others the opposite.
A pine board would probably taste better than these lambs.
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Postby jpa » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:13 pm

Darroll Grant wrote:Big if measured by the scale and related to true age in days is infinitely better than 'big' as measured by the yardstick at the shoulder.


His growth numbers were good, but he also turned out to be "Big, as measured by the yardstick at the shoulder" (At least for us compared to our other rams, but not really "big" when compared to a lot of todays dorsets)
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Postby jpa » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:20 pm

Janet McNally wrote:"
EBVs and EPDs solve this problem...with enough records, the EBV or EPD objectively evaluate growth, and from there, the buyer just needs to decide what kind of frame size works best in his environment.

It has been interesting each year, as I evaluate the next crop of rams, that sometimes, a rather small ram comes in with big growth EBVs. Maybe he was a triplet, or out of a young ewe, or some other disadvantage that our eyeballs have a hard time compensating for. by and by I find it best to trust the numbers. It is always interesting to use one of those rams, with doubts in my mind, only to find the offspring really do perform as promissed.

janet


Janet,

Of course you are so right, and that is why I am so excited to be utilizing NSIP in out flock. (Even with it's faults) That is also why we are thrilled to be using one of K bar K's rams which was pretty much picked out on paper, based on his EBV's, before we even saw him.

The ram I was referencing to was also bought on EPD's, his numbers are pretty decent but not spectacular. He was the first one we bought that way and we learn more every day.
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Postby jpa » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:22 pm

Darroll Grant wrote:Its past time I get enrolled in organized production testing.


Darroll,

That is great to hear. Your participation in a "production testing" program, NSIP or Lambplan, will be a tremendous asset to not only you and your flock but every person who buys an animal from you.

Keep us up to date on what you end up doing.

Jason
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