The Colorado Ram Test Association will begin its 18th annual ram-performance test June 6 at the Colorado State University Sheep Research and Teaching Unit near Fort Collins.
"The purpose of the test is to identify genetically superior ram lambs and promote their use in Colorado," said Steve LeValley, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension sheep and wool specialist.
"In a weight-driven system where pounds of lamb equate to increased income, genetically superior rams are likely to improve profits for sheep producers," he said. "Rapid growth is a highly desirable selection trait in sheep." The test gives producers valuable breeding and selection information and an opportunity to progeny-test their stud rams and still have lambs to sell.
Rams consigned to the test must be born on or after Jan. 15 and weigh a minimum of 60 pounds for white-faced lambs, and 70 pounds for black-faced lambs.
Lambs must be delivered to the university’s sheep unit on May 28. After a 10-day adjustment period, they begin a 60-day test to identify genetically superior rams for average daily gain, total gain, weight-per-day-of-age and breeding soundness. University scientists will use ultrasound to check rib-eye area and fat thickness.
The Colorado Ram Test provides 20-, 40-, and 60-day reports on average daily gain and weight-per-day-of-age.
Ram lambs that pass the structural- and reproductive- soundness examinations and rank in the top two-thirds of the test for average daily weight gain are eligible to be consigned to the annual CRTA sale in September.
The Colorado Ram Test is jointly sponsored by the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and the department of animal sciences.
For more information and nomination forms, contact Steve LeValley, 105 B Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523; or phone (970) 491-1321.