Maternal weaning weight corresponds to the genetics underlying a ewe’s ability to produce a lamb of a given weaning weight. This trait was ranked third in the trait prioritisation process. Ewe behaviour can positively influence a lamb’s weaning weight, with one study (O'Conner et al, 1985), showing a higher weight of lamb weaned per ewe lambing for ewes with higher maternal behaviour scores. The estimated benefits of improving maternal weaning weight by 10% equates to $85 million per annum.
There are currently no genomic breeding values (gBVs) for maternal weaning weight. Genomic breeding values for Romney, Perendale and Coopworth breeds are expected to be developed and released for this trait in 2012.
How can you help?
To generate gBVs we need more sire DNA from Romney, Perendale and Coopworth breeds. We also need sire DNA from Texel and composite SIL flocks to produce maternal weaning weight gBVs for these breeds. Any breeders interested in contributing please contact John McEwan email@example.com or Lucie Archer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are currently no specific genetic tests for weaning weight (maternal).