IDGR-IFBR Milk Production Awards for Sheep

Pilot Sheep Milk Test Program
updated 2/29/16

The following information is for the Pilot Sheep Milk Test Program (P-SMTP) for the IDGR-IFBR. This pilot program is subject to change. (links to forms at bottom of page)

The Sheep Milk Test Program is designed to encourage dairy sheep breeders and those breeding multipurpose animals to objectively assist in the milking abilities of ewes in order to improve the dairy sheep industry. This system of milk testing is designed to benefit those flock-owners who cannot feasibly utilize the DHI system for whatever reasons. This is not a contest to see who can give the most milk, rather it is designed to help breeders breed for the very best and improve their ewe's ability to produce milk. The production figures generated by this system will be actual, not projections, and may be used in advertising. IDGR offers this system in good faith and relies on our members to respond in kind; falsifying records will ultimately only hurt the flock owner. By applying for this testing program you commit to honestly record milk amounts as accurately as possible. If a surprise test is conducted and the figures vary significantly from the barn record figures, or if IDGR has a reason, it reserves the right to require further surprise tests. Any records or awards found to be inaccurate or dishonestly obtained will be stricken from the records; individuals found to be deliberately falsifying records may be barred from further IDGR membership and participation in any testing or awards programs.

The Sheep Milk Test program is open to all IDGR-IFBR registered sheep including Experimentals and Grade animals. Milk must be weighed each day with an accurate scale and recorded. A hanging dairy scale which reads in pounds and tenths of pounds is recommended. For maximum accuracy, the scale's range should not exceed 60lbs. A maximum of 14 days (no more than 4 consecutive days) may be missed for the full lactation test, no more than 1 day may be missed in the 30-day milk test. Each milking must be weighed (multiple weights will be recorded if milking twice or three times daily). Please record all milk weights on the IDGR form MBR-1. Please note if the ewe is nursing, in heat, or sick on form MBR-1 during a lactation. One sample must be submitted to a DHIA lab every 45 days (or less) for the full lactation test; two samples must be submitted to a DHIA lab (maximum 35 days apart- one at the start of the test) for the 30-day test. The day of lambing and the following three days may be omitted from the barn records, but we encourage you to begin keeping records as soon as possible. A ewe may not qualify for more than one 30-day award in a single lactation.


All ewes must be registered or recorded with IDGR. All breeds and types of sheep are welcome to participate and be eligible for production awards appropriate to their breed. A clear photograph of each ewe along with her tattoo and/or tag number, height at withers, heart girth measurement and fees of $10.00 per farm plus $1per doe on test must accompany the application for IDGR Barn Record Milk Testing Program. If the ewe completes the test and qualifies for an award there will be an added $3 fee for each award to cover extra paperwork. 

For FULL-LACTATION TESTING, each ewe is given two awards- one for lactation length(L) and one for average milk per day (M). A ewe CANNOT receive an award for one without also qualifying for an award for the other (i.e. a dairy ewe cannot milk less than 2.8# per day for 160+ days and qualify, nor can a dairy ewe milk more than 2.8# per day for less than 160 days and qualify). Any cross consisting of 20% or more of the recognized dairy breeds will be placed in the Dairy Breeds category.

Awards are as follows:

For Dairy Breeds (East Friesian, Lacauna, etc.) and their crosses
Yellow 160+ days; 2.8# per day average (LY; M*Y)
Red 185+ days; 3.5# per day average (LR; M*R)
Blue 210+ days; 4.2# per day average (LB; M*B)
Purple 240+ days; 5#+ per day average (LP; M*P)

For Non-Dairy or Multipurpose Breeds (Icelandic, Finnsheep, etc) and their crosses
Yellow 90+ days; 1.8#
Red 120+ days; 2.5#
Blue 150+ days; 3.2#
Purple 180+days; 4#

For Miniature Breeds (shetland, miniature southdown, miniature cheviots, etc) and their crosses
Yellow 90+ days; 0.8#
Red 120+ days; 1.5#
Blue 150+ days; 2.2#
Purple 180+ days; 3#

For 30-DAY TESTING, each ewe is rewarded points: 1 point for every 10lb of milk produced; 1 point for every 15 days since freshening at the start of testing. No more than 40% of the total points awarded may be from DIM.

Dairy Breeds and their Crosses:
Yellow 9pts Y*D
Red 12pts R*D
Blue 15pts B*D
Purple 18pts P*D

Non-Dairy and Multipurpose Breeds and their Crosses:
Yellow 7pts
Red 10pts
Blue 13pts
Purple 16pts

Miniature Breeds and their Crosses:
Yellow 3pts
Red 5pts
Blue 8pts
Purple 10pts


Application for Milk Test

Milk Barn Record Sheet (Form MBR-1)