The Nuts and Bolts of EBVs

Eastern Alliance for Production Kathadins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: November 17, 2023)

(Image Source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)

EBVs are tools that producers can use to select breeding animals that will help them meet flock goals for specific traits such as growth, milk, reproduction, parasite resistance and carcass quality. It is important to understand that selecting for extremes in one trait will often put negative selection pressure on other traits of interest. Often, animals with extremely high EBVs in certain traits will require additional nutritional support or better management to perform successfully at that level. In addition, some traits are antagonistic to other traits, meaning that if you select strongly for one trait you may be inadvertently reversing the progress you’ve made in other important traits. Traits that are directly measured (weights, FEC, Carcass) are generally more heritable than other traits such as milk and prolificacy. Below is a condensed description of EBVs, how they are measured and why they are important.

Maternal Weaning Weight EBV (MWWT):
MWWT EBV provides an estimate of the genetic effects of the ewe’s milk and mothering ability on the weaning weight of her lambs. A higher value generally indicates Continue reading