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Symposium looks at ways to increase sheep numbers

By Staff | May 28, 2012

THE NATIONAL SHEEP Symposium will encourage sheep producers to expand their ewe herds to meet hightened lamb and wool demands.

AMES – The National Sheep Symposium will bring top sheep production experts from across the United States to the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, July 27 and 28.

The symposium, titled “Using Technology to Attack the Let’s Grow with twoPLUS Initiative,” joins the initiative’s campaign to encourage current producers to expand their sheep numbers by 2014.

The symposium has a full slate of speakers who will address the issues of long-term economic outlook for the U.S. sheep industry, increasing flock numbers using a variety of breeding resources and flock management ideas – topics of concern to sheep producers and those interested in U.S. sheep production.

“Dave Notter is one of the nation’s most respected sheep geneticists,” said Dan Morrical, Extension sheep specialist for Iowa State University. “Those attending the symposium will hear him tell how to combine traditional estimated breeding values with gene marker assisted technology for genetic improvement.”

One of the greatest challenges the sheep industry currently faces is output per ewe.

“It hasn’t improved very much,” said Morrical. “The sheep industry has room to increase ewe numbers, but we must produce more lambs faster by increasing ewe productivity.

“That means increasing the number of lambs born per ewe, increasing the survival of lambs born and improving the lean meat yield from those lambs.”

The symposium is hosted by the North Central Extension and Research Activity committee.

The National Sheep Improvement Program Center of the Nation sale will follow the symposium at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Registration for the symposium is $50 before July 20. After midnight on July 19, registration cost is $100.

The registration fee covers program materials, breaks and lamb dinner on Friday evening. There are three ways to register: online, FAX or mail. For more information on the National Sheep Symposium and how to register, visit www.aep.iastate.edu/sheep/homepage.html.

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