Optimal village breeding schemes under smallholder sheep farming systems
DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2009.01.001
Title: Optimal village breeding schemes under smallholder sheep farming systems
Journal Title: Livestock Science
Volume: 124
Publication Date: September 2009
Start Page: 82
End Page: 88
Published online: online 6 February 2009
ISSN: 1871-1413

  • a Debre Birhan Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 112, Debre Birhan, Ethiopia

  • b Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • Abstract: challenges in the implementation of livestock genetic improvement programs in developing regions, including centralized nucleus breeding schemes, these programs can contribute to the improvement of the livelihood of smallholder farmers. In this paper, we present a community- or village-based breeding scheme in which breeding activities are carried out by communities of smallholder farmers. We evaluated genetic responses and the rate of inbreeding from alternative village sheep breeding schemes that were based on a survey of existing flock structure and breeding management in a sheep-barley system in Ethiopia. This survey showed that individual flock sizes were small, and that the majority of farmers practiced mixed grazing and uncontrolled mating of their flocks in communal grazing lands within villages. Here we evaluated within-village schemes (selection across flocks within a village) and across-village schemes (selection across villages) at different intensities of ram selection (i.e. proportions of rams selected, P). Our results showed that under within-village schemes, intensity of selection could not be increased (i.e. P could not be decreased below 0.149) when the rate of inbreeding was constrained to an acceptable level of 0.01, resulting in low genetic gain. The most Optimal scheme was found to be across-village selection with at least three villages cooperating and P = 0.05. Our results also indicated that genetic gain from village breeding schemes with mass selection and BLUP selection is comparable. Village breeding schemes can make a significant contribution to the genetic improvement of livestock in Ethiopia and other developing countries.
    Accepted: 6 January 2009
    Received: 4 March 2008
    Revised: 30 December 2008
    Keywords: Village breeding scheme; Smallholder farmers; Genetic gain; Inbreeding rate; Sheep
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