Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 76
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76 REPORT ON EXPERIMENT STATIONS, 1952
that ewes kept at an enviornmental temperature of about 45 F.
during the summer months came into estrus 8 weeks earlier than other
ewes maintained under natural conditions. Also semen of rams kept
at this temperature did not show the usual summer deterioration in
quality. When this semen was used to inseminate ewes early in the
breeding season the percentage of conceptions was more than twice
that obtained from other matings.
The research also indicates that the occurrence of high temperatures
early in the breeding season frequently causes early embryonic death
loss in ewes. Shearing summer wool growth from rams and ewes
before the start of the breeding season and preventing the exposure
of rams to high temperatures may help to increase the size of the
early lamb crop.
Improvement through breeding
Results of an 8-year experiment by the West Virginia station, in
which western grade Corredale ewes and native grade Hampshire
ewes were mated to Southdown rams, show that the western ewes produced
18 percent more lambs and 39 percent more wool than the native
ewes. Because of the interest shown by farmers in this experiment,
western ewes are being shipped into the State in increasing numbers
The Montana station (coop. USDA) is emphasizing improvement
of Rambouillet sheep by inbreeding and linecrossing. In 1951, a
cross of two lines produced 6 pounds more lamb per ewe than the
average of the parent lines. Fleece weights of cross-line ewes averaged
about 15 percent heavier than those of the original inbred lines.
For 4 years, the Texas station has been cooperating with sheep
breeders of the State in a performance and progeny testing experiment
to improve selection of breeding stocks. Sire groups, each consisting
of four ram lambs handled under uniform feeding and management
practices, are tested for ability to gain rapidly and to produce
heavy fleeces of long-staple wool. Records are based on an 8month
feeding period. To date 576 rams and ram lambs owned by
36 breeders have been tested, and breeder interest is steadly increasing.
Progeny of superior rams tested in this experiment have ranked
well above the average, which indicates that this is a practical method
of sheep improvement.
From original crosses of Rambouillet ewes mated with BorderLeicester
and Cheviot rams, the Minnesota station is developing a new
strain of sheep especially adapted to northern Minnesota. The sheep
are white-faced, hardy, and produce high-quality lambs. Favorable
reports from farmers using rams of this strain indicate that they are
making a worth while contribution to sheep production in that area.
Total egg production in the United States increased 60 percent during
the last decade. In 1951 the rate of lay per hen was 40 percent
higher than the 1935-39 average. Production of poultry meat in
1951 was nearly double that of the prewar level, mainly because of
the heavy increase in commercial broiler production. In the same
year there were 85 percent more turkeys raised than in 1940. Ex
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/78/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.