A considerable amount of selection takes place among Merino sheep well before the expression of ewe reproduction. Most of the emphasis is placed upon wool traits, followed by body traits. With few exceptions, reproductive traits receive a lesser amount of attention (Casey and Hygate, 1992). The wool traits that are normally the focus of genetic improvement programs are clean fleece weight (CFW) and fibre diameter (FD). When reproductive rate is part of the breeding objective information on the genetic correlation between wool and reproductive traits is required for the calculation of relevant selection indices. Furthermore, even when it is not in the breeding objective, it is important in order to predict correlated responses in reproductive rate when clean fleece weight and fibre diameter are the only traits selected for. In this paper we report the phenotypic and genetic correlations of CFW and FD with number of lambs weaned per ewe joined (NLW) for South Australian Merino sheep. Earlier studies have reported heritabilities for reproduction and wool traits (Ingham and Ponzoni, 2000 ; Hill, 2001).
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 12, , 12.04, 2002
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