Thursday, December 29, 2016
How to use data to breed and promote disease resistance in ruminants.
The uses of data in agriculture and agribusiness is growing by the day from normal monitoring of animal production,to epidemiology,to animal tracing and product tracking to now disease resistance.Breeding programmes for ruminant benefit largely from data,data analysis and interpretation as this gives an accurate projection of production status and hence profitability of venture. Food security can be achieved if modern techniques are injected into agriculture with respect to breeding genetically superior breeds and species. Data analysis not only simplifies the work of the farmer it also cuts costs and extends productivity of animals on the farm. The use of data on farms has gone a step further by promoting health and productivity of farm animals. Parasites in farm animals are a major cause of of losses and farmers strive to keep internal and external parasites at bay,now farmers are using Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) data generated through the National Sheep Improvement Program, to help promote genetic resistance to parasites. EBVs are calculated by making comparisons, or rather genetic linkages, between not only related animals in one flock, but also by looking at those genetic linkages with related animals in other flocks. Through these linkages, producers can then make selection decisions for a number of different traits. This multi-trait selection can often include traits that may or may not be visually evaluated. Parasite resistance would be one of those traits that would incorporate both visual and non-visual appraisal. When selecting breeding animals, the goal is to select those genetics to be passed to the next generation of the sheep flock. When you only select on phenotypic traits, those you can visually assess, you are not able sort out the difference between how much of this trait is affected by genetics compared to how much of this trait is affected by the environment now the, EBVs can take the guesswork out of the visual appraisal. The most accurate method to assess parasite resistance in an individual sheep is through the use of an EBV for worm egg count.The EBV for parasite resistance is based on worm egg counts (WEC) that are recorded at weaning, early post-weaning or late post-weaning time-frames. Animals that have a low or negative WEC EBV can be expected to have more resistance to parasites than animals with higher EBVs for WEC e.g if you want to choose between a ram with an EBV of -20 and one with an EBV of 2 for worm egg count, you should consider the ram with the -20 EBV over the other ram. Producers who raise sheep in temperate climates where internal parasites have a large effect on growth and performance can find this EBV very beneficial. According to NSIP’s fact sheet “NSIP EBV Notebook” research suggests that post-weaning WEC EBVs are the most useful genetic indicator of parasite resistance, although studies with Katahdin sheep show that weaning worm egg counts provide useful information on parasite resistance in young lambs. Weaning and post-weaning WEC EBVs are strongly, but not perfectly, correlated. Learn more here and lets start breeding ;see