Purebred East Friesians (EF) sires were used in both the 1996 and 1998 matings (n=2 and 4, respectively) to generate 62 and 66 progeny for the two years. These animals were compared with approximately 1000 COOP lambs in each year for growth, ultrasonic fat and muscle depths, wool, dagginess, host resistance to internal parasites, and reproductive performance. For the 1998 mating, one F1 sire and 24 F1 dams were mated to COOP ewes and rams respectively to produce approximately 73 paternal and 33 maternal backcross progeny. Twenty four EF cross ewes were mated in each of the 1998 and 1999 birth years, and reproductive performance recorded. On average, the EF cross progeny had a live weight advantage (P0.05) after adjustment for live weight, but EF cross progeny had significantly lower C and GR measurements. EF cross progeny had lower fleece weight at 12 months (-0.46kg; P<0.001) than COOP. Average dag score differed between sire breeds with EF cross having lower scores (0.4 verses 1.2) compared to COOP. Sire breed differences in resistance to parasites were not significant. Analysis of the limited EF backcross data indicated positive EF direct and maternal effects for weaning weight, negative EF direct effects for dag scores, and negative EF direct and maternal effects for fleece weight. EF cross ewes performed significantly better (P<0.001) in lambs born per ewe lambing than the purebred COOP for both 2-tooth (2.57 cf. 1.84) and mixed-age (2.76 cf. 1.98) classes. The high lambing percentage in EF cross ewes meant that more than 70% of mixed-age ewes had three or more lambs per lambing, which could result in management difficulties. There was significant overlap in the sire-breed ranges for all traits, meaning selection of sire was more important than breed selection.

NB, Jopson, KG Dodds, KJ Knowler, R Wheeler, and JC McEwan

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 47-50, 2000
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