Dag score was rated as the seventh most important trait in the Ovita Traits Prioritisation process. Dags predispose sheep to flystrike and require additional crutching costs. A 10% improvement in dag scores is estimated to be worth $21.7 million annually.
Currently dag scores are collected by breeders and entered into SIL to generate their own dag index. The majority of this information comes from WormFEC breeders. Seventeen of these breeders were recruited into an AgResearch study on flystrike and dags.
Initial analyses of the flystrike/dag dataset have been carried out and genetic parameters such as heritabilities and genetic correlations between traits and with other traits determined. For breeders recording this trait, the most immediate result will be better SIL breeding values for dagginess and flystrike.
Genomic breeding values (gBVs) for dags are expected to be developed for release in 2012.
How can you help?
To develop gBVs for dags we need more sire DNA from Romney, Perendale, Coopworth and especially Texel and composite breeders that are recording dagginess. Any breeders interested in contributing please contact John McEwan firstname.lastname@example.org or Lucie Archer email@example.com.
There are currently no specific genetic tests for dags.