Training and standardisation sessions of udder morphology classifiers

Udder morphology classifiers from both sides of the Basque Country held a training and standardisation session on Latxa/Manech and Basco Béarnaise sheep classifications on 20th and 21st February.

The aim of this session was to co-ordinate the methodologies used on both sides of the border and analyse the consistency of these classifications delving into classification homogeneity in and among the classifiers.

Udders are classified in animals which have birthed once between the second and fifth month of lactation; and while there are common characteristics such as udder insertion, udder length and angle of nipple insertion, the scales used are different. Furthermore, there are different characteristics such as the middle suspensory ligament is only measured in Iparralde (French Basque Country), whereas the length of the nipples is only measured in Hegoalde (Spanish Basque Country); hence the importance of these kinds of meetings.

The session was extremely positive, with standardisation of the different udder parameters, in addition the Hegoalde evaluators classified the middle suspensory ligament for the first time, adapting very well to the assessment of this parameter.

It was very positive to discover that despite all the differences, the degree of homogeneity in and among the classifiers was very high.

Moreover, the session enabled joint discussion which was very enriching in numerous practical aspects related to the selection schema, thereby advancing towards the aim of being able to define a selection body for mutual management of the schema.

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