Developing Commercial Dairy Sheep for Southern United States Conditions
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 25, Mount Hermon, LA, 70450
Dr. Charles L. Leary
AbstractThe research and innovation proposed here will use genetic technology and knowledge to produce a domestic dairy sheep strain productive under United States Southern Region and Third World conditions, while also generating new information about ewe management. Dairying with sheep presents innovative economic opportunities to the sheep industry, and the number of dairy sheep operations is expanding. A major limiting factor on dairy sheep production is the availability of dairy genetics. Another limiting factor for the U.S. Southern Region is the inadequate use of tropically-adapted sheep breeds that tolerate heat and humidity, and possess high feed conversion efficiency and parasite resistance. In Europe a dairy sheep breed exists with unsurpassed production traits. The East Friesian dairy sheep has been successfully used in cross breeding programs in the Middle East and Europe. The proposed research will import East Friesian embryos from Europe while at the same time performing lactation and metabolism studies on two tropically-adapted breeds: the St. Croix and the Gulf Coast Native. The ultimate goal of the proposed research is to develop one or two new synthetic strains of sheep that will possess both the excellent production traits of the East Friesian and the hardiness and adaptable qualities of the St. Croix of Gulf Coast Native.
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