Applications are now being accepted for the Ninth Annual “Ram Sire Test”, jointly sponsored by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and the Mountain States Lamb Cooperative. The 75-day test, held in cooperation with the UW Department of Animal Science, will be conducted at the UW Animal Science Research facility located 5 miles west of Laramie.
This year’s Test will again feature the use of the recently installed GrowSafe™ system, a revolutionary new program that uses electronic ID with an integrated computer system to measure and track INDIVIDUAL animal feed intake data. The GrowSafe™ system is the first of its kind that provides an efficient and accurate method to collect and track feed intake data on an animal basis, which allows for characteristics such as feed conversion to be measured continuously. The UW system is the first of its kind specifically designed and installed for sheep.
This year’s Test is being changed to a 75-day Test, rather than a 60-day Test, as has been conducted in previous years. Rams are scheduled to be delivered on May 29, 2010 to begin a two-week warm-up with the test period on June 12th and ending on August 26th. Due to increasing demand for use of the GrowSafe system, rams on the Ram Sire Test will only be guaranteed 50-days worth of GrowSafe data, with additional days o data dependent upon the availability of the system. The cost for testing rams is $165 per head. A non-refundable enrollment fee of $25 per head is due with the enrollment form no later than May 01, 2010. The balance of $140 per head is due upon or before delivery of the rams to the test facility on May 29th.
The objective of this test will be to provide a “growth” situation for ram lambs in a controlled environment and measure their genetic capabilities over a 75-day test period. A unique aspect of this test is that a growing ration that is higher in protein and roughage than most gain oriented tests is used. The idea behind this is to more closely simulate the type of production and management systems that most commercial sheep producers utilize.
Entry into the WWGA/MSLC Ram Sire Test is subject to acceptance by the Ram Test management. A maximum of 200 rams can be tested in 2010. In the event that more requests for entry are received than can be accommodated, the management of the Test reserves the right to make all final decisions as to which rams will be tested. It is anticipated that in most cases, such a determination will be made upon the date of receipt of the enrollment form, as well as whether or not the applicant has participated on the Test in prior years.
Characteristics to be measured will include weight per day of age and average daily gain over the test period along with actual and adjusted rib-eye measurements and back fat taken with ultrasound. In addition, individual ram feed conversion data will be collected through the GrowSafe™ system. Blood will be drawn for scrapie genetic testing.
This test is primarily designed for meat breed sheep, as it will coincide with the natural growth curve of lambs in a commercial setting, but no specific breeds will be included or excluded. It is the opinion of the leadership of the WWGA and MSLC that all breeds have some type of “meat” genetics contained within them.
The Test is an effort to objectively determine the traits that rams contribute to the genetics of a commercial or purebred flock and give producers a baseline to evaluate rams based on performance as well as carcass characteristics. Significant strides in determining those characteristics were made during the first two years of the test. However, final determination of the most economically important traits may change as important factors are identified through the Mountain States Lamb Co-op.
The Ram Test has been designated a high priority by the leadership of both the WWGA and MSLC. Identification of superior genetics important to the lamb meat industry combined with translation and distribution of those genetics out into the sheep industry is seen as one of the keys to the success of the domestic lamb industry, and in particular the Mountain States/Rosen marketing entity.
The leadership of the WWGA will be meeting with the WWGA State Ram Sale Committee early in May and will again request that a number of entry spots be set aside in the 2010 Wyoming State Ram Sale for the top performing rams from the 2010 Test. The top rams from the 2009 test were sold individually at the 2009 State Ram Sale and enthusiastically received by the buyers. However, as in the past, many of the rams on the Test will be offered for sale by private treaty at the end of the test period.
This will be an excellent opportunity for ram producers to gather important performance information at a reasonable rate. If you have any questions or would like more details, please call Bryce Reece at 307-265-5250.
To receive an entry application, contact the WWGA office in Casper at 307-265-5250 or go to the WWGA website at www.wyowool.org to download the entry form.
Schedule of Important Dates for the 2010
WWGA/MSLC “Ram Sire Test”
May 15, 2010 Entry Forms w/$25 per head non-refundable fee due
in WWGA office
May 29, 2010 Rams to be delivered to Laramie for 14 day “warm
up” period—balance of payment due
June 12, 2010 Initial “Weigh On” Weight Taken- Rams On GrowSafe
July 06, 2009 Second Weigh Date
July 30, 2010 Third Weigh Date- Rams Off GrowSafe
(50-day Test period on GrowSafe)
August 26, 2010 Final Weigh Date- Rams Off Test
September 14, 2010 Wyoming State Ram Sale, Douglas, WY
Posted by Kaci Switzer