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Resistance to gastrointestinal helminths in meat sheep
Gastrointestinal helminths cause enormous economical losses every year. Is it possible, to use new breeding programs and `create` helminth-resistant sheep? And how much money could be safed with different protocols?

Economic values for resistance to gastrointestinal (GI) helminths in meat sheep were estimated based on previously published genetic and phenotypic parameters in a selection index objectively optimizing gains on yearling weight (YW).

A two-trait index of YW and faecal egg count (FEC) were considered when accounting only for tangible roles of sheep production using individual records for index calculation (scheme 1) or including individual, sire, dam and male paternal half-sib information (scheme 2).

Schemes 3 and 4 were similar to schemes 1 and 2, respectively, but accounted for both tangible and intangible roles of sheep production.

Economic values within each scheme were estimated for five breeding objectives as follows: (i) index response in YW equals response from single trait selection, (ii) index response in YW is maximum, (iii) the level of FEC was held constant, (iv) A predetermined response of 0.22 (1000) eggs per gram was assumed and (v) Monetary value of response in FEC is minimum.

All estimated economic values were negative, and were Kenya Shillings (KSh) 34.90 (US$0.50), 0.00, 92.20 (US$1.32), 153.31 (US$2.19) and 47.90 (US$0.68), respectively, for options 15 in scheme 1.

In all schemes the breeding options ranked 4, 3, 5 and 1 in descending order; however, options 1 and 5 exchanged positions in schemes 2 and 4. Economic values were responsive to changes in heritability of FEC and genetic correlation between the two traits.

The magnitude of the economic values reflects the importance of including resistance to GI helminths in the breeding objectives for meat sheep in different production systems.



Source: Gicheha, M.G., Kosgey, I.S., Bebe, B.O. & Kahi, A.K. (2005): Economic values for resistance to gastrointestinal helminths in meat sheep in Kenya. In: Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 122 (3), 165-171.




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