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Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) provide a measure of the breeding potential of an animal for a specific trait. They take into account performance data collected on known relatives, the relationships between performance traits (correlations) and the degree to which traits are inherited from one generation to the next (heritabilities).

EBVs are expressed in the same units as the recorded trait (e.g. kg for eight week weight) and they relate to a common baseline. This baseline of zero relates to the average breeding value of lambs born in the year when the within-flock or across-flock analysis was first produced.

interpreting EBVs

EBVs are easy to interpret, for example:
A ram with an EBV of +6 for scan weight is estimated to have the genetic potential to be 6kg heavier at 20/21 weeks compared to one with an EBV of 0.

A recorded ram will only pass on half of its genes to its lambs so its EBVs must be halved in order to estimate the average genetic worth of its progeny.

For more information see our fact sheet Estimated Breeding Values