Sheep producers should plan to participate in the 2010 Performance Ram Test at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Hettinger Research Extension Center (HREC).
“The purpose of the test is to compare growth and carcass traits among ram lambs raised under a similar environment,” says Christopher Schauer, HREC director and animal scientist. “Consignors will be given information on average daily gain, ribeye area and fat thickness data for each ram.”
The 70-day testing period begins May 20 and concludes July 29. To be eligible, rams must have been born between Jan. 15 and March 1, 2010. The entry fee for each ram is $100, and consignors must be members of the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association (NDLWPA).
During the test, updates on ram performance will be posted on the HREC Web site (www.ag.ndsu.edu/ HettingerREC) every 28 days. At the end of the testing period, finalized data and rankings will be sent to all consignors.
“A new index will be utilized this year which incorporates average daily gain, loin-eye area and backfat, but also accounts for ram birth date, heritability of these traits, and the economic impact on producer profitability of these traits,” Schauer says. “The resulting index will attempt to combine these into a profitability index.”
The ration for the rams will consist of approximately 15 percent alfalfa pellets, 15 percent market lamb pellets, 60 percent corn and 10 percent oats. Rams can be delivered to the testing facility at HREC from May 10 through May 18.
The consignor and HREC agreements, entry form and NLWPA membership form are available for downloading at www.ag.ndsu.edu/HettingerREC/ram-test. — WLJ