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NDSU Sheep Data Collection Program

Compared to other livestock species, the sheep industry has not adopted performance data collection practices.  In the late 1980s, the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) was created to assist breed associations and producers to collect and analyze performance data.  This program generated genetic predictors for individual animals based on different commercial important traits.  These prediction values are called expected progeny differences (EPD) and they are one of the best technologies to available to make breeding decisions based on performance traits.  Currently, there are only a couple breeds of sheep that are using this technology.  If you are interested in enrolling into NSIP, visit their website or contact James Morgan (NSIP Chairman) at (479)444-6075.


Production traits, such as weaning weight, yearling weight, litter size, and fleece weight, must be collected from flocks before any EPDs can be generated.  Production records do not have to be generated into EPDs for progress to be made.  On the contrary within a shepherd’s own flock and production data is very useful.  I encourage all producers to collect this information and use it help make breeding decisions, even if they have no intention to enroll in NSIP. 


North Dakota State University will be offering support to producers that want to start collecting production data and using it to make improvements in their flock.  Step by Step Process.

1.       Send email to and state that you would like to enroll in the program.

2.       Click Links to receive data collection tools Lambing Barn Data Sheet and Production Data Entry File

3.       Submit data electronically within Production Data Entry File

4.       Data will be adjusted for factors such as lamb age, ewe age, sex and parity

5.       Reports will be returned within two weeks that include rankings of lambs, ewes, and rams

6.       Assistance in collection of 120 day weights, rib-eye area, and backfat data will be available upon request


Data collected in this program is similar to what NSIP recommends producers collect.  Therefore, flocks can enroll into NSIP and transfer the previously collected information.  This should help new producers improve the accuracy of their data upon enrollment.  If you are interested in this program, please contact Reid at (701)231-5597 or  This program will be provided free of charge for those that enroll in 2011.

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