STUDY: TERMINAL SHEEP BREEDS FOR USE IN WESTERN RANGE OPERATIONS

DAVID NOTTER, GREG LEWIS, MICHELLE MOUSEL, TIM LEEDS, HENRY ZERBY, STEVE MOELLER, DAVID KIRSCHTEN, AND BRET TAYLOR

 Mating systems involving crossing of terminal sire sheep breeds with superiority for production characteristics such as growth rate and feed efficiency with well-adapted maternal breeds provide opportunity to increase lamb carcass value while maintaining acceptable environmental adaptation in the crossbred lambs.  Large, lean terminal-sire breeds such as the Suffolk and Columbia have been most typically used in extensive rangeland conditions found in much of the western United States.  Intense selection in these breeds for adult body weight and frame size led to correlated increases in growth rate but also concerns regarding fitness and survival rates to weaning in resulting crossbred lambs, and other less-extreme terminal-sire types of most moderate size have been increasingly promoted as alternatives.

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