A study of regional differences in within-flock sources of variation in Sheeplan records of production traits for Coopworth sheep : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science at Massey University
Perforrnance records on 219, 000 ewes and 231,000 lambs from 48 Coopworth flocks were obtained from Sheeplan files. The flocks were divided into 5 climatologically similar regions: Northland; north of Taupo excluding Northland; reminder of the North Island; the South Island north of Palmerston, excluding the West Coast; the South Island south of Palmerston. Flock records were edited in an effort to remove recording errors. Within-flock environmental estimates were obtained using ordinary least squares procedures for continuous characters or iterative weighted least squares for binomial characters. The within-flock estimetes were weighted by the inverse of their standard errorr's and weighted means of the regional and national fixed effects were obtained. Paternal half-sib heritability estimates were obtained for each flock. There were few significant differences in the environmental estimates between regions. The traits examined (with the average of the heritability estimates) were: weaning weight (0.17); ram autumn liveweight (0.24); ewe autumn liveweight (0.26); ram winter liveweight (0.26); ewe winter liveweight (0.31); ram spring liveweight (0.29); ewe spring liveweight (0.34); ram hogget fleece weight (0.29); ewe hogget fleece weight (0.33); survival of all lambs (0.04); single lamb survival (0.05) and multiple lamb survival (0.05); proportion of a ewe's lambs surviving (0.04); number of lambs born to a ewe present at mating (0.12); number of lambs weaned per ewe lambing (0.07); given a ewe lambed, did she bear multiples (0.14); weight of lamb weaned per ewe rearing lambs (0.10). Selection and non-random mating may have biased the estimates.