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All the latest news, events, sale reports and client reminders

Should I only breed from rams that are born as a twin?

At a recent meeting, commercial farmers with Dorset sheep were discussing how important it was to select a ram that has been born as a twin.

 

Breeding for worm resistance in sheep 

In Autumn 2022 ten performance recorded hill flocks measured their lambs, assessing both individual FECs (for Strongyles and Nematodirus) and an immune response to worm challenge that is measured via blood samples, referred to as IgA. Measures were taken by farmers and vet and then assessed by Techion (for FEC) and Biobest (for IgA).

What is a reduction in days to slaughter worth for a spring lambing flock?

Within our terminal sire breeding programmes we are often asked to put a commercial value on the genetic improvement we make in enhancing growth rate and conformation. While it is relatively easy to understand the value of increasing a lamb’s carcase weight, carcase conformation grade or changing fat classification, it is far harder to determine the impact of reducing days to slaughter.

Reducing carbon emissions through breeding and genetics

This webinar series, in partnership with the British Society Animal Science (BSAS) and Teagasc (Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) aims to share the most recent research findings investigating methods to reduce emissions from livestock agriculture and how we can apply this directly to farm. 

What’s New for 2023?

We recognise the importance of generating consistency in the monthly breeding values published by Signet.

While the ranking of animals will change as new data is added to the genetic evaluation, breeders generally wish to avoid changes that lead to their animals re-ranking - unless the index of their favourite ram goes up of course! However, as time moves on the team of geneticists at SRUC do make recommendations on ways to enhance our evaluations and if it is going to help breeders to make better breeding decisions, then we try to take their advice. 

The role of AHDB Levy Funds in the Genetic Improvement of the National Flock

In Spring 2022 beef and lamb levy payers will be asked how they want to see the levy that they pay to AHDB invested. In this article Samuel Boon talks about the role of levy investment in generating long term genetic improvement in our sheep industry through the use of selective breeding and the financial impact this has on the sector. 

Sheep Breeders Round Table - Listen Again

Listen again to the best bits of the Sheep Breeders Roundtable 2021, with contributions from AHDB/Signet, HCC, QMS, Agrisearch and NSA

Out of season breeding

In the UK the Poll Dorset/Dorset Horn is well known for being an aseasonal breeder, capable of breeding out of season, with lambing frequently taking place in September and October.

At Signet we are interested in the genetic influences upon seasonal breeding and are greatful to Liz Nabb for completing a comprehensive mini-project on the seasonality of reproduction as part of her AHDB funded PhD.

The Role of Genetics in Reducing Methane Emissions

While carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are all important greenhouse gases, for sheep producers the most important is methane. Methane is an inevitable by-product from the fermentation process when ruminants convert forage into meat we can consume, often on land unsuited to other forms of food production. The good news is there are already a number of ways that selective breeding can reduce the amount of methane produced by the flock relative to the amount of lamb produced.

Signet client survey

The results of a recent Signet survey show the value breeders place on the Signet service; 94% of breeders would recommend Signet’s performance recording services to other pedigree breeders.

Over 70% of Signet clients are also seeing improved financial returns through their involvement in performance recording; with Signet’s data helping them to reach new customers, price rams and improve on farm performance.