Fundamental Aspects of Crossbreeding of Sheep: Use of Breed Diversity to Improve Efficiency of Meat Production
Author: K. A. Leymaster
Breed diversity is a valuable resource of the sheep industry. Crossbreeding systems use breed diversity to increase productivity relative to purebred flocks. Crossbreeding systems vary in managerial complexity and in use of beneficial effects due to crossbred ewes and lambs. Efficiency of meat production is maximized in terminal crossbreeding systems by use of specialized sire breeds to complement characteristics of crossbred ewes. This article addresses breed diversity, heterosis effects, complementarity, and advantages and disadvantages of various crossbreeding systems. Practical aspects of crossbreeding are discussed to provide guidelines for sheep producers.