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The role of genetics when selecting for profitability and growth from forage

Assessing a ram’s genetic merit is key when looking to maximise profitability within the flock and accelerate growth from forage

Measuring methane emissions from individual sheep, an update from SRUC.

Results from preliminary trials of the new PACs owned by SRUC support research findings from New Zealand, Ireland and other countries: methane emissions from sheep are feasible to measure on-farm using Portable Accumulation Chambers (PAC) under UK conditions and that there is variability between animals in methane emissions recorded by PACs that could potentially be exploited within breeding programmes.

Economic Expression of Hill Index

Performance recording has been used within hill sheep breeding programmes for many years, but recent developments as part of the Hill Ram Scheme in Wales has led to changes in the expression of the index. From June 2023 the index will be expressed in £ as the expected annual return per ewe.

New breeding values for abattoir traits revealed by AHDB’s Signet Breeding Services

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is to make new breeding values for abattoir traits an integral part of the National Terminal Sire Evaluation through its Signet Breeding Services, following significant analysis of abattoir data. This new approach coincides with the release of the latest RamCompare results at a webinar on 11 May 2023 (book online).  

Catch up here -

Gortleigh - 35 years of recording

The Gortleigh Dorset flock was established by Gill and Richard Trace in 1986 on a 330 acre farm in North-West Devon. The breed was chosen for its ability to lamb naturally out of season, its versatility, adaptability and docility.

The Gortleigh flock has always been pro-actively managed using Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) and has been a member of the Centurion Dorset breeders group since 1997.

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.

Kelsey Trophy goes to Bridgehaugh flock

The Kelsey trophy is awarded to a Signet recorded Hampshire Down flock who has made the greatest genetic gain this year. This year it has been awarded to the Bridgehaugh flock, the flock has an impressive Terminal Sire index flock average of 287, putting the lambs within the top 5% of the breed.

Pictured is Graylen Officer who was the highest index ram in the breed at the premier sale in 2021 and was purchased by David for 4,600gns.

New EBVs to improve maternal efficiency and productivity

With farmers facing ongoing uncertainties including changes to basic payments and increased pressure to reduce carbon emissions, many suckler farmers are investigating ways to improve the efficiency of their cattle enterprises. Could AHDB's new maternal breed evaluations be the answer? Dr Alex Brown, AHDB's Senior Beef Breeding & Genetics Manager, explains more.