Using a deterministic model of profit equation compatible to cocoon production system in Iran, equations for estimating economic values of cocoon weight, shell weight, shell percentage, fecundity, fertility, and hatchability of three commercial varieties of silkworm Bombyx mori (L.) were derived. Economic values of these traits as well as their relative economic importance (REI) compared with cocoon weight were estimated. Estimates of economic value of a given trait differed among the varieties. Cocoon weight, shell weight, and shell percentage had the highest economic value in variety 107. The highest economic value for fecundity, fertility, and hatchability was estimated in variety 110. Shell weight and shell percentage were the most important production traits, and fecundity was the most important reproduction trait. The REI values of shell weight and shell percentage were higher than that of cocoon weight. The sensitivity of estimated economic values to principal factors of production system was studied by altering cocoon weight, shell percentage, fecundity, variable costs, and cocoon price by ±10%. The traits varied in the rate of sensitivity of their economic values to changes in production factors. Economic values of cocoon weight, fecundity, fertility, and hatchability had the most sensitivity to the changes in shell percentage. The most important factor affecting economic values of shell weight and shell percentage was the grade 1 cocoon price. Economic value equations provided in this study can help silkworm breeders to concentrate on the most important factors in predicting the future. Furthermore, when these factors change, silkworm breeders will be able to determine to what extent breeding goals have to change.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5