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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

Recording Birth Weights and Lambing Ease

With lambing round the corner for many terminal sire breeders, now is an important time to highlight the importance of recording both Birth Weights and Lambing Ease.

Weighing is not limited to youngstock, weigh all your cattle this autumn.

As we enter the autumn, and the weather is starting to turn and many of you will be thinking about preparing for the winter and getting jobs ticked off. Hopefully one near the top of the list is collecting weights of youngstock and cows. Providing weights for cows at weaning is important data, that will support on-going research and we hope lead to the development of an EBV for this trait.

Dorset Centurion Group Autumn Newsletter

The latest Dorset Centurion newsletter can be read here

What is to be gained from using a recorded ram?

Many breeders have been involved in performance recording and research for more than 50 years. The cumulative and permanent change this creates in the breed, means that over time the improvements made in recorded flocks benefit the whole breed.

How does ultrasound scanning enhance Terminal Sires?

In recent years there has been an increasing number of breeders have had their lambs measured using Signet’s ultrasound scanning service as part of their breeding programmes. It is a great tool to identify sheep with superior muscling, while avoiding those likely to be excessively fat. This is the best way of identifying animals with superior genes for muscling and this data is used to produce Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs).

Scoping study: Delivering a vision for improving the beef and sheep sectors through animal breeding over the next 10 years.

The report presents evidence to inform decisions related to the development of the genetic improvement infrastructure for the UK sheep and beef sector, in order to improve financial sustainability and reduce environmental impact of the sector, including the current financial benefit of genetic improvement.

Record prices achieved at virtual ram sales

During the summer, we launched some new estimated breeding values (EBVs) for sheep farmers. To explain what these were and how useful they could be, we hit the road to talk to farmers about them at a series of workshops.

Farmers attending the workshops heard how careful ram selection can easily lift the value of lambs by £3–£5 a head, which would be worth an extra £1,000 over a ram’s working lifetime.