Heritability in Merino sheep breeding
How well sheep perform is due to their genetic makeup and environment. Heritability estimates how much of the superiority of the parents is, on average, passed onto their progeny. When you select Merino sheep for breeding, you can expect that their better production performance will be inherited by their offspring.
Measurement of heritability
Estimates of heritability tell the breeder how effective selection is likely to be. Heritabilities are divided arbitrarily into high, moderate, and low.
The higher the rate of heritability, the greater chance that the characteristics you are looking to encourage in your sheep will be passed from parent to offspring.
Below is a list of traits and their corresponding heritability in sheep.
|Clean fleece weight||High|
|Lean meat yield||Moderate|
|Eye muscle depth||Moderate|
|Worm egg count||Moderate|
|Number of lambs born/weaned||Low|