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Genomics of sheep resilience to climate change

Different animals are known to react differently to changing climatic and weather conditions, and part of these differences may be genetic. Therefore, breeding for enhanced animal resilience to climate change has been proposed as a possible mitigation strategy. 

The aim of the present project was to examine the genomic profile of climate resilience in sheep, with a focus on identifying the desirable genetic profile of animals whose performance and growth do not change because of changing weather. 

Using technology to breed lambs with more muscle

To meet the needs of the commercial producer, ram breeders must select rams with the right carcase attributes, and this can be aided using EBVs to identify genetically superior animals. In order to assess muscling in the live animal, breeders can utilise measurement services such as ultrasound scanning and Computed Tomography (CT) scanning within their breeding programmes to find the best animals and make informed decisions

Our Best Guide for Commercial Flock Productivity

Commercial producers are seeing the benefits of looking deeper into an animal’s background before purchase and utilising data to make informed decisions rather than buying on looks alone. Many buyers are seeking high index terminal sires to improve their farm’s profitability; improving carcase conformation, reducing days to slaughter and increasing the value of the lambs sold

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. 

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.

Neogen Support Creation of Charollais Genomic Archive

Charollais Sires have made semen available from 79 Charollais rams that were used within the former Sire Reference Scheme. These rams have produced over 13,700 Signet recorded progeny. A significant investment was required to genotype these animals. AHDB provided the initial funding and an extremely generous offer of support and in-kind sponsorship from Neogen enabled us to finish the job. By the close of 2021, we will have genotyped 30 rams on the leading 600K high density genotype and completed a 50K genotype on the remaining 49.

Recording Crossbred Sheep

Selling rams for breeding is all about genetics. In recent years, farmers have become more aware of the benefits of adapting breeds to meet the needs of their system. To help identify the best sheep to use for breeding, which will improve the following year’s lamb crop, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) have been produced. 


This article explains how the Harding family developed the Aberblack; a modern, hybrid terminal sire.

New Signet Publication

By performance recording with Signet breeders can add value to their sheep enterprise in two ways, increasing ram sales and enhancing flock productivity.

In an era where livestock producers use genetic information to make informed decisions, it is important not to be left behind. Signet data gives ram buyers the confidence to invest in the best.

Whether you sell from home, auction or online, clearly it pays to record. Why wait? Join Signet today and start unlocking the potential of your flock