Relationships of subjectively assessed wool and conformation traits with objectively measured wool and live weight traits in the Tygerhoek Merino flock
Records of the Tygerhoek Merino resource flock were used to estimate genetic, phenotypic and environmental parameters between subjective wool and conformation traits with objective wool and live weight traits. The database contained records of 4 495 animals, the progeny of 449 sires and 1 831 dams, and born from 1989 to 2004. On the genetic level (rg) live weight was favourably related to regularity of crimp (ROC) (0.20), woolly face score (WFS) (0.21), general head conformation (GEN) (0.67), conformation of the hind legs (HOCKS) (0.36), conformation of the front legs (FQ) (0.42), topline (TOPL) (0.25) and total fold score (TOT). Estimates of rg were favourable for clean yield with wool quality (QUAL) (0.30), wool colour (COL) (0.45), wool oil (OIL) (-0.44), staple formation (STAPL), belly and points (BANDP) (0.24), face cover score (FCS) (0.18), GEN (0.25), HOCKS (0.19), TOT (-0.26) and FQ (0.18). Clean fleece weight (CFW) was favourable correlated 'to QUAL (0.18), STAPL (0.39), BANDP (0.48) and GEN (0.23). Staple length was favourably related to COL (0.16), BANDP (0.40) and WFS (0.16) and negatively related to OIL (-0.33). Staple strength was favourable correlated to ROC (0.33) and FQ (0.39). Fibre diameter was favourable correlated with QUAL (-0.32), ROC (-0.28), FCS (-0.32), pastern score (PS) (-0.16) and TOPL (-0.18). Coefficient of variation of fibre diameter (CVFD) was favourably correlated with QUAL (-0.50), ROC (-0.73), HOCKS (-0.17), FQ (-0.33) and TOPL (-0.25). In contrast, unfavourable correlations occurred for SS with TOT (0.25), for FD with STAPL (0.59), BANDP (0.37), HOCKS (0.13) and TOT (0.13). Other unfavourable genetic correlations were between CFW and TOT (0.28) and between CVFD and STAPL (0.49). The results showed that selection for LW and objective wool traits will not seriously compromise subjective wool and conformation traits, barring a few exceptions. © South African Society for Animal Science.