November 2004 -- A total of 49 rams of 10 breeds and crosses from 21 owners from three states were tested for growth and carcass traits at the Wisconsin Ram Test Station in 2004.
Suffolk and Polypay breeds each had 10 rams on test, followed by Dorset and Hampshire breeds, with each having eight rams on test. Six breeds and crosses had four or fewer rams on test.
Rams had a one-week adaptation period and then were tested over an eight-week growth period.
The rams averaged .99 pounds per day in gain and had average ultrasound rib-eye areas of 2.57 square inches. No single breed had the highest average performance for all traits measured. The four Shropshire rams had the greatest average daily gain on test (1.30 lb./d), least amount of fat (.12 in.), greatest estimated lean gain/day (.32 lb./d) and largest scrotal circumferences (35.25 cm.). The 10 Suffolk rams had the largest rib-eye areas (2.82 in.2). The two Charollais-cross rams had the greatest loin depths (1.26 in.) and greatest estimated percentage boneless closely trimmed retail cuts (48.95 pecent).
A Shropshire ram, owned and consigned by Cedarbend Farm, owned by Gordon and Alyce Smith, Elkhorn, had the highest average daily gain with 1.44 lb./d. A Suffolk ram, owned and consigned by Dale Dobberpuhl?s Mint Gold Ranch, DePere, had the largest rib-eye area at 4.04 square inches.
The Wisconsin Ram Test Station is a project of the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative. The University of Wisconsin (UW) Cooperative Extension and the UW-Madison Department of Animal Sciences assist with the test.