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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.

Shaping the future with the latest Sheep Breed Survey results

More innovative use of crossbreeding within the British sheep industry was one of the most significant findings in the latest Sheep Breed Survey. These results indicate that cross breeding strategies are becoming more diverse, reflecting the way sheep producers are adapting with the times and striving to improve performance.

The Sheep Breed Survey is an important reference point for researchers, funders and policy makers. It has been completed five times since 1971, with the last results published in 2012. The survey provides a unique insight into how the agricultural industry has changed over 50 years and highlights how future policy decisions may influence lowland and upland sheep production.

Breed Survey Results - 16th August

Join AHDB’s Signet Breeding Manager Sam Boon along with Dr Geoff Pollott from the Royal Veterinary College on Monday 16 August 2021 for a unique insight as to how our sheep industry has changed over the past 50 years. The Sheep Breed Survey results describe the breed structure of the British sheep industry at mating in 2020 and are based on data derived from a postal questionnaire sent to the 38,000 wool producers registered with British Wool in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Please register now online 

A successful Charollais Sale for performance recorded breeders

There was a great selection of performance recorded Charollais rams on sale at the Premier Sale at Worcester. 43% of the rams on offer were performance recorded and were well represented in the top prices; four of the top five prices were for performance recorded rams.  Rams in the sale had an average index in the top 25% of the breed, allowing a great choice for buyers to prog ...

Using Performance Recording in crossbred ram breeding

Ram breeding provides the genetics to increase the productivity of your customer’s flock. Performance recording means you can select and market the sheep with the most profitable genetics. Recording crossbred rams uses the same process as a pedigree flock, but you should consider:

Antur report from Ram Compare

The Antur flock of Texel sheep, owned by Aberystwyth University Farms, was one of the founder members of the Texel Sire Reference Scheme.  This scheme, started in 1990, introduced performance recording and genetic evaluation to improve growth rate and carcass quality, characteristics of major importance for commercial lamb producers.