United Suffolk Sheep Association
United Suffolk Sheep Association
Breed Improvement
Committee Chair - Matt Beals
Email: drysandysheep@gmail.com
Phone: 402-200-0444
USSA Awarded Let's Grow Grant

The United Suffolk Sheep Association is the recipient of 1 of 15 grants funded through American Sheep Industry Association's Let's Grow Committee.
Grant Summary:
This project will link the association functions of breed promotion, youth development and education with the NSIP functions of creating and meeting commercial demand for documented performance and utilizing the technology of genetic analysis. The USSA will update its registration process to record performance measures and submit that data set (in large batches) directly to NSIP, creating a user-friendly system to fully integrate registration and performance. In the interim, USSA will subsidize the cost of data input for individual breeders, to immediately increase participation in NSIP. This project will dramatically increase the number of Suffolk breeders participating in NSIP and the number of Suffolk sheep in the database, thereby increasing the accuracy and validity of the genetic analysis. With heavy overfinished lambs hindering the efficiency of the U.S. sheep industry, Suffolk terminal sires (with reliable estimates for efficient lean gain) will be a great tool in managing this problem. As the largest single contributor of terminal sire genetics to the U.S. sheep industry, the USSA is dedicated to assuming a leadership role, and with a cooperative effort with NSIP, addressing the opportunities presented in the American Sheep Industry's Roadmap, and plans to contribute matching funds to achieve the goals of this project proposal.
To learn more about the Let's Grow program and other proposals funded visit: http://www.sheepusa.org/Growourflock_Home


National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP)

The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) is a nonprofit organization established in 1986 by sheep producers and animal scientists to develop a tool that U.S. sheep producers can use to make genetic selection decisions based on commercially important traits. This program is administered by a volunteer board of directors and represents breeds of U.S. sheep that want to participate. Each breed type is evaluated separately in the NSIP. Technology that generates predictions offspring performance based on performance records is used by nearly all other livestock species to aid in genetic selection for highly productive animals. The NSIP works with the Australian company Sheep Genetics. Sheep Genetics provides the data submission software and performs the analysis that generates estimated breeding values for the U.S. producers enrolled in the NSIP.
More information can be found about NSIP by visiting the NSIP website - www.nsip.org

Upcoming NSIP Webinars
Past Educational Webinars
Center of the Nation NSIP Sale
2015 Sale Report
NSIP Suffolk Data

Suffolk Elite Proven Sires August 2016
Suffolk Elite Proven Dams August 2016
Suffolk Elite Young Sires August 2016
Suffolk Elite Young Ewes August 2016
Suffolk Proven Sire Trait Leaders - Carcass Plus August 2016
Suffolk Proven Sire Trait Leaders - SRC$ August 2016
Suffolk Proven Sire Trait Leaders - WWT August 2016
Suffolk Proven Sire Trait Leaders - PWWT August 2016
Suffolk Proven Sire Trait Leaders - PEMD August 2016

NSIP Updates

The NSIP Suffolk Breed Coordinator is Brenda Reau.
Email: brendareau@gmail.com
Cell: 734-755-8285


Submitted by Bill Shultz, May 2014
I thought it might be interesting to many of you to know the type and extent of data which is processed though NSIP. Most breeders categorize Suffolk’s as terminal sires and as such the traits dealing with growth and carcass quality appear to have the most economic importance to commercial producers.

The growth traits that NSIP reports are “WWT” weaning weight taken on lambs around 60 days of age and “PWWT” post weaning weight taken when lambs are about 120 days of age. The carcass trait reports are “EMD” eye muscle depth and fat which are both obtained though on farm ultrasounds at the same time that the 120 day weights are recorded. EMD is the measurement used by most of the major sheep producing countries of the world instead of loin eye area which has been the traditional standard in the US. The two measurements are highly correlated and both are an excellent predictor of overall muscling in a lamb. Currently over half of NSIP Suffolk participants record carcass data but it is not required to be enrolled.

NSIP has developed a formula which includes all of the carcass and growth traits blended into an economically balanced index called CARCASS PLUS. Improvement in this index is the challenge of most NSIP Suffolk breeders.

NSIP also measures and provides EBV’s (estimated breeding values) on other economically important traits such as birth weights, milk production, number of lambs born, and number of lambs weaned. The emphasis placed on selecting for these traits vary between producers and their overall flock improvement goals.


Submitted by Alan Culham, April 2014
Exciting things are going on in the sheep industry that will provide great opportunities for Suffolk breeders if we can position ourselves to take advantage of them. The National Lamb Board which is funded by your check-off dollars from the sale of your lambs at market commissioned a study “The American Lamb Industry Roadmap Project” otherwise known as the “Hale Report”. This study was designed to address changes needed in the sheep industry to best position us for growth, if not survival into the future. Targeted areas included increased efficiency of production, improved carcass cutablity and consistency of the product, as well as increased use of quantitative genetic selection for seedstock with those traits important to commercial sheep production. This coupled with the recent publication of research done at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho that identified Suffolks as the breed most suited as the terminal sire breed contributing the most to the profitability and efficiency of western range flocks. Within the group of Suffolk rams used for the study, offspring of rams from flocks enrolled in NSIP (National Sheep Improvement Program) clearly outperformed Suffolk rams from those flocks that were not. This research identifies Suffolks and the use of genetic evaluations as meeting the goals spelled out in the “Hale Report”. NSIP in an attempt to serve the sheep industry by providing those rams needed to accomplish the goals of the Hale Report has offered the following incentives to encourage enrollment and use of NSIP. Any new flock or inactive flock (previously enrolled did not submit data last year) would have their annual flock fees waived for one year. Members under 22 years of age get their flock fees waived for 3 years. In addition new flocks will be assigned a mentor to answer questions and assist the training of producers in how to submit data and interpret the results of their genetic evaluations. Suffolks are unique in being one of the few sheep breeds that can actually contribute to the viability of the commercial sheep industry on a large scale. Let’s not let this opportunity slip through our grasp. Enroll your Suffolk flock in NSIP!

Submitted by Bill Shultz, March 2014
We are attempting to make this column a regular feature of the Suffolk Newsletter. I am currently the director representing Suffolk breeders on the NSIP board. Alan Culham, who will be co-writing this column, is serving as the director representing all terminal sire breeds participating in NSIP. We will be updating you on current happenings within NSIP as well as how Suffolk breeders can use this technology to enhance their contributions to the commercial sheep industry. Currently there are 16 Suffolk breeders on NSIP from 10 different states and they have supplied performance data on almost 14,000 lambs over the past decade. Recently our national organizations, the American Sheep Industry (ASI) and the American Lamb Board (ALB), in their attempt to revitalize the American sheep industry through The Roadmap initiative have designated NSIP as the major ingredient to increasing productivity and profitability. NSIP accordingly has decided to eliminate its enrollment fee for one year for any new member and up to three years for any member under the age of 22.
NSIP Suffolk Enrolled Breeders
The American Lamb Industry Roadmap Project

The American Lamb Industry Roadmap Project / Hale Report is now available online.
The report can be found at:


Research Highlighting Suffolks
Evaluation of Columbia, USMARC-Composite, Suffolk, and Texel Rams as Terminal Sires in an Extensive Rangeland Production System
Click here for article
Click here for figures from the article
Click here for Slide Presentation
Presented at: Production, Education, and Research Council Policy Forum, Amer. Sheep Industry Convention, Scottsdale, AZ, January 24-28.



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