Articles | Volume 42, issue 3
10 Oct 1999
 | 10 Oct 1999

Planungsrechnungen zur Optimierung von Zuchtplänen der Rasse Merinofleischschaf

U. Müller, K. Strittmatter, and G. Nitter

Abstract. Title of the paper: Alternative selection strategies for the Mutton Merino breed to optimize breedine Systems
This paper deals with the investigation of alternative selection strategies for the Mutton Merino breed to improve lamb meat production and fertility. A main topic is the application of ultrasonic scanning to evaluate the meat content on live animals. The aim of model calculations was the optimisation and comparison of five different selection strategies within three different schemes of gene dissimation. First a basic scheme was defined and optimised (selection on field records, one-step selection, no scanning). It was regarded as the reference scheme to which all other breeding Systems were related. The following schemes considered both, selection with and without scanning. A second scheme, also based on field records, includes two-step selection of rams (called improved field test scheme). In a third and fourth scheme a level of uniform environment was assumed for ram progeny testing. These are a central testing Station on the one hand with slaughtering and carcass evaluation on progeny, and one or more contract farms on the other (without slaughtering). For a fifth selection scheme an open nucleus was assumed with ram progeny testing in associated test herds.

In a dcterministic approach using the ZPLAN Computer program, the monetary genetic gain for the breeding objeetive (traits lambs weaned, litter weight at weaning, postweaning daily gain and lean meat content) and the profit were calculated for each scheme after optimisation of various biological-technical coefficients. The highest profit was achieved with a nucleus scheme (DM 9,16). Due to low recording costs the basic scheme was second (DM 7,19) and, because of high costs, the Station scheme was last (DM 4,22). The other two schemes were intermediate (DM 6,98 for the scheme with contract farms and DM 6,58 for the improved field test scheme). On an average over all schemes, scanning resulted in a 0,24 DM (i.e. almost 30 per cent) increase of the monetary genetic gain and a threefold higher genetic gain for lean meat percentage. In all schemes scanning lead also to a higher profit because the higher retum of selection based on scanning exceeded the higher costs.