The efficiency of animal production systems is influenced by a large number of factors but reproduction rate (the number of offspring weaned per female joined per year) is one of the most important (Moav, 1966; Dickerson, 1970, 1980). The magnitude of the increases in efficiency that accompany increased reproduction rate are likely to depend on the mean reproduction rate of the species or strain and on the effect of increased reproduction rate on other outputs (wool, milk etc) from the system. Thus an increase of one offspring per litter might influence efficiency to a greater extent in the sheep or cow than in the pig and, within sheep, might increase efficiency more in breeds that produce little wool as opposed to those that are specialist wool producers such as the Merino.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 5. Plenary sessions, , 271–281, 1982
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