Comparison of sire rams of the Latvian Dark-Head breed according to feed efficiency indicators as the beginning of genomic breeding research
¹University of Latvia, Institute of Biology, Laboratory of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Jelgava street 1, LV–1004 Riga, Latvia
²Latvian University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Faculty of Agriculture, Institute of Agrobiotechnology, Liela street 2, LV–3001 Jelgava, Latvia
In sheep (Ovis aries) farming, feed costs are the largest variable cost component. Breeders are showing an increased interest in breeding sire rams with improved feed efficiency characteristics because of the possibility that the offspring will have a higher value of this indicator. The result shows that for one ram, the progeny indicators tend to be variable. Currently, no marker has successfully explained enough of the variability of feed efficiency that they were used as part of a routine improvement program. The aim is to analyze feed efficiency indicators for lambs of sire rams of Latvian Dark-Head (LT; Latvijas tumšgalve) to identify sire rams producing lambs with potentially higher feed efficiency. Fattening data of 48 lambs from 13 sire rams were analyzed to determine the correlation of feed efficiency parameters. The average weight of lambs at birth was 4.08 ± 0.56 kg, while the average weight gain reached 47.43 ± 3.17 kg with an average fattening period of 73.27 ± 8.90 days. A strong and very strong correlation between the studied indicators of feed efficiency was revealed. The correlation between these indicators and live weight gain over for 60 days indicates their economic importance in meat production. Certain phenotypic and genotypic factors cause the influence on their value. The phenotypic influence may consist of environmental and external signs, but the genotypic influence is at the DNA level, which requires further study.