Many sheep farms concentrate on the production and sale of seed-stock or breeding stock. Breeding stock may include ewes and rams, purebred registered animals and industrial cross-breds. Customers for breeding stock may be other seed-stock producers or business sheep producers.
In areas where there is a large business sheep trade, producers could be in a position to determine demand for commercial rams. One choice for selling rams is to participate in Central Ram Performance Testing Programs. During a ram take a look at, rams are evaluated for various traits as well as growth, feed potency, wool traits, parasite resistance, and breeding soundness. Rams that don’t meet performance standards don’t seem to be allowed to sell. Consignment sales, production sales, and personal treaty sales are different means that of selling breeding stock.
Record keeping is a crucial facet of seedstock production. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) is quantitative genetic evaluation program for little ruminant producers. It calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values) for numerous traits and permits the comparison of sheep from different flocks beneath different feeding and management systems. NSIP knowledge is processed by Australia’s LAMBPLAN. Producers will also do their own on-farm record keeping. There are numerous computer programs out there for this purpose. A spreadsheet can conjointly be used.
Nowadays, it is counseled that breeding rams, especially those sold to other seedstock producers, be blood tested for scrapie genotype. Rams with inclined genotypes (e.g. QQ) should probably not be sold for breeding, if progeny will be kept for breeding. QQ rams will be used to provide club lambs or as terminal sires in business flocks where all lambs will visit slaughter. Scrapie isn’t a genetic disease; but, a private’s genotype determines whether or not it will get scrapie if it’s exposed to the infective agent.
Producers of breeding stock could conjointly wish to enroll their flocks in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP). The VSFCP is a monitoring program for scrapie administered by USDA-APHIS. It is a requirement for export.