Two aspects of the CAMDA group breeding scheme is to improve lamb growth rate and the mothering ability of Welsh Mountain sheep. Genetic variation for these traits is present (Aslaminejad et al., 1999) but the rate of genetic progress depends on the selection decisions made within the scheme. The objective of this study was to estimate the genetic gain achieved in the nucleus and members’ flocks over the 20 years since the scheme began.
A total of 31887 records of 12 and 18-week live weight of Welsh Mountain lambs collected between 1976 and 1995 in 7 flocks of the CAMDA scheme were used in this study. Each flock was analysed separately fitting a univariate animal model with a direct and maternal random genetic effect. Genetic parameters were estimated using a derivative-free restricted maximum likelihood algorithm (DFREML; Meyer, 1993).
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