Genotype by environment interactions for productivity and resistance to gastro-intestinal nematode parasites in Red Maasai and Dorper sheep
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Animal Science;79(pt. 3): 343-353
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/28306
Red Maasai and Dorper sheep were evaluated for their resistance to gastro-intestinal (GI) nematode parasites (predominantly Haemonchus contortus), productivity and productive efficiency (assessed on a metabolizable energy basis) in experiments undertaken at the Kenyan coast (sub-humid environment) and the Kenyan highlands (semi-arid environment). In both ewes and lambs there were few significant genotype by environment (G X E) interactions for either resistance (assessed by faecal egg count-FEC) or resilience (assessed by blood packed red cell volume-PCV) to GI nematodes. Red Maasai sheep were few significant G X E interactions were due to very poor performance of the Dorper compared to the Red Maasai in the sub-humid coastal environment and to the much improved performance of the Dorper in the semi-arid environment. When these component traits were combined into estimates of flock productivity and productive efficiency there were highly significant G X E interactions with the Red Maasai sheep being considerably more efficient than Dorper sheep in the sub-humid environment, while in the semi-arid environment there was a negligible breed difference in productive efficiency. The results are discussed in terms of breeding strategies for smallholder farmers and pastoralists managing sheep in low-input systems in sub-humid and semi-arid environments.