Radio frequency identification (RFID) and automated weighing platforms facilitate the practicality and ease with which individual live weight (LW) can be recorded. This raises the possibility for the difference in recorded LW of sheep between pre- and post-shearing to provide an estimate of fleece weight (eFW) which, in turn, could allow selection pressure to be applied for improved wool production. The eFW of yearling ewes (n=98), yearling rams (n=274) and mixed-age ewes (n=305) were compared with their recorded fleece weight (FW). Positive linear correlations (P<0.001 for all stock classes) were observed between eFW and FW and also the eFW rank and FW rank. Although some variability between stock classes existed, for all data combined, FW rank was able to account for 42% of the variation in eFW rank. Further, selecting individuals on eFW was able to retain an average of 64% of the selection differential obtained using recorded FW. Overall, these results suggest eFW calculated from the difference in LW between pre- and post-shearing, in combination with RFID and automated weighing platforms, may provide a useful and practical tool to assist with selection for improved wool production in a commercial setting.

JM, Galway, CM Logan, AC Bywater, and AW Greer

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 74, Napier, 68-72, 2014
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