Genetic parameters for reproduction rate in the Tygerhoek Merino flock. 2. Genetic correlations with wool and live mass traits

Author: S.W.P. Cloete & H.J. Heydenrych
Year: 1987
Issue: 1
Volume: 17
Page: 8 - 14

Data of the Tygerhoek Merino flock were used to obtain estimates of genetic correlations of 18 months wool and pre-mating live mass traits with average reproduction over two to five lambing opportunities, as well as between pre-mating live mass and subsequent reproduction in age groups of 2 – 6 years by paternal halfsib procedures. The wool traits considered were clean fleece mass (CFW), greasy fleece mass (GFW) and fibre diameter (FD). Reproduction traits were lambs born/ewe conceived (Lb/Ec), lambs born/ewe mated (Lb/Em), and lambs weaned/ewe mated (Lw/Em). The genetic correlations of 18 months wool traits with reproduction traits were not very accurate and estimates larger than twice their standard errors were obtained only on a few occasions. The genetic correlation between CFW and Lb/Ec tended to be positive. There was, however, evidence of a negative genetic correlation between CFW and the composite trait of Lw/Em both in literature cited and in the present investigation. The genetic correlations of 18 months FD with reproduction traits were variable. The genetic correlation of live mass with reproduction traits was positive, both within age groups and when 18 months pre-mating live mass was correlated with average reproduction over a number of lambing opportunities. Several estimates involving Lb/Ec, Lb/Em, and Lw/Em were larger than twice their obtained standard errors. The obtained genetic correlations were in correspondence with literature cited. It was concluded that selection for live mass is unlikely to cause negative correlated responses in reproduction, unless live mass at a very young age is used as a selection criterion.



Keywords: Genetic correlations, live mass, Merino sheep, Reproduction, wool traits
Read article