Changes to selection practices in Merino ram-breeding flocks highlighted the need for knowledge of phenotypic and genetic parameters of production characters at young ages. Preliminary estimates from a long-term project indicate that staple strength, fibre diameter variability and skin quality are moderately to highly heritable at 10 and 16 months of age and that favourable genetic correlations exist between these characters and other important production characters. The value of these characters in Merino breeding programs is discussed.

D. R Gifford, R. W Ponzoni, P. MC Ancell, P. I Hynd, J. RW Walkley, R. J Grimson

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 19. Selection and quantitative genetics; growth; reproduction; lactation; fish; fiber; meat., , 409–412, 1994
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