Schauer Sheep Company

Registered & Commercial Polypay Breeding Stock

Hettinger, ND



The National Sheep Improvement Program is a computerized, performance-based program for genetic selection. NSIP is designed to help purebred sheep producers identify the best genetic stock for their breeding programs. An Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) is an estimate of an animal’s true breeding value. EBVs are benchmarked, so they allow the animal to be fairly and directly compared to the benchmark, the current breed average, or with other animals from the same analysis. EBVs do not necessarily reflect the animal’s observed performance, which is a combination of both genetic and environmental influences; rather they are an estimate of the genetic component of that performance.
Quick facts about EBVs:
• An EBV is a value (number) that expresses the difference (+ or –) between an individual animal and the benchmark to which the animal is being compared. An EBV of +6 for post-weaning weight means that the animal is genetically better by 6 kg at post-weaning age than the base it is being compared to. EBVs are reported in terms of actual product, for example kg of weight, mm of fat depth, or % of lambs or kids weaned.
• EBVs adjust for known environmental differences such as age, age of dam, birth type, rear type and nutrition. This allows comparison of animals born in different seasons and years, and adjusts for known genetic differences such as preferential joining and unequal representation between contemporary groups.
• EBVs consider all the available information from relatives as well as the individual animal, and take account of the relationship (correlation) between traits.
• An EBV is the best estimate of genetic merit. The value of an animal’s genes for most production traits cannot be directly measured. This means that, given all the data available, the estimate is unbiased and as close to the true value of the genes as we can get. However, practically we cannot determine an animal’s true genetic value so we must settle for the best estimate. An EBV will never have an accuracy of 100% but as very well evaluated animals (sires with many recorded progeny, for example) get EBVs approaching 99% accuracy, the estimate is very close to the animals true breeding value.
This information can be found at the NSIP website: