Number of Lambs Born (NLB) was ranked as the sixth most important trait in the Ovita Traits Prioritisation process. An increase in NLB results in an increase in the number of saleable lambs but can correspond to a decrease in ewe and lamb survival - which needs to be taken into account. Increasing the Number of Lambs Born by 10% corresponds to a $52 million annual benefit to the industry. However, this mostly benefits farmers who have not yet reached the NLB/ewe and lamb survival trade-off balance.
Genomic breeding values for NLB were released in 2010 for the Romney breed. We need to continue to collect Romney sire DNA to enhance this resource. We also need to collect sire DNA from Perendale, Coopworth, Texel and composite animals to develop GBVs for these breeds.
How can you help?
Inverdale gene carrier status can be tested using the Inverdale gene test available from Pfizer Animal Genetics. Carriers of the Inverdale gene have higher fertility and show higher scanning rates than non-Inverdale ewes. All this and more information can be found on the Pfizer Animal Genetics website.