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Dorset sheep breeders take carcase traits to a new level

For over 50 years, Poll Dorset and Dorset Horn sheep breeders have measured the performance of lambs on their farms with the aim of enhancing their value at the abattoir.

AHDB funding to support CT scanning in 2024

AHDB are keen to support performance recording flocks based in England that wish to use SRUC’s CT scanning service. AHDB will provide a support payment to SRUC of £55/lamb to support CT scanning services. Breeders can chose to take their lambs to Edinburgh or go to one of the mobile venues set up by SRUC.

Shropshire sired lambs evaluated for carcase traits

Over the past four years Shropshire breeders have been involved in RamCompare, the UKs national progeny test. Data from the project demonstrates the role this native breed plays in the commercial sheep sector and predicts a ram’s economic worth to a flock. This information provides a useful insight for commercial buyers to select the right rams to achieve their lamb enterprise objectives. 

Scoring Wool Shedding in Signet Recorded Flocks

In most wool shedding flocks it is expected that over the course of time a very high proportion of the adult sheep will shed out completely. Breeding evaluations need to pick out the variation between animals, so scores need to be collected before the entire flock has shed their fleece (and score the same!)

Farm Event - Breeding for better carcases and the genomic opportunity

Friday, 24 May 2024, 11:00am - 3:30pm, Sandlands Farm, Frisby on the Wreake, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 2NS

At this event, we will introduce the value of genomics (the study of genes) and explain how important it is for future ram breeding decisions. We will help you to understand how to use performance traits to benefit your pedigree flock or your commercial lamb enterprise.

A Genomic outlook for sheep genetic evaluations

Genomic information enables predictions of genetic merit to be made using measures of an animal’s DNA, rather than being solely reliant on data derived from measurements taken on them and their relatives. Genomic approaches do not replace our current genetic analyses but build on them – introducing an additional genomic step that greatly increases the accuracy of our predictions.

Adjusting the scale of the Hill Sheep Index

To support ram breeders in 2024 the index will be rescaled to better reflect the variation within the population, whilst operating from a higher initial starting point. The ranking of rams will not change, but the average index within each breed will be closer to £10 than the current starting point of £1.

Updates to Birth Weight and Lambing Ease EBVs

Signet has recently updated their genetic evaluation to enhance the breeding values for two traits that influence the level of intervention required at lambing time.

Producing lambs that survive and thrive

Many factors effect lamb survival, some are influenced by the environment the lamb is born into, some are influenced by the ewe’s maternal performance (whether she has enough milk and leads the lamb to shelter in wet weather). However, the lamb’s own genes also have a marked impact on their future and part of the genetic evaluation service provided by Signet to breeders, we can identify the best breeding lines for lamb survival; highlighting those sires whose lambs thrive and survive.

Are big cows better?

How big is your ideal cow? In the show ring, big cows tend to do well. Their size makes them impressive to look at compared to smaller females and for those chasing higher growth rates, a herd of large cows will, on average, produce calves with heavier weaning weights.

However the overall profitability of your farm is not just your income. Especially in the current climate of high costs of fertiliser, labour and feed, reducing input costs is a great way to increase your profit. Smaller cows need less feed and so can greatly reduce your input costs