The sheep industry consists of a nucleus or ram-breeding sector that accounts for 1-2% breeding ewes and a commercial sector that relies on the ram-breeding sector for the supply of flock rams. The rate of genetic change in the whole industry is dictated by the rate of genetic gain in the nucleus sector. Increasing the size of the nucleus sector has little affect on genetic gain but increases the costs of genetic improvement. Industry structure is determined by the behaviour of breeders and farmers but there is often little individual incentive for these players to alter their practices despite overall benefit to the industry. The advent of performance recording, open-nucleus breeding schemes and the introduction of new sheep breeds have all resulted in modifications to the NZ breeding industry structure. The introduction of new biotechnology, notably DNA and cloning technologies could markedly alter future industry structure.

DJ, Garrick, HT Blair, and JN Clarke

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 175-179, 2000
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