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Dorset Centurion Group Autumn Newsletter

The latest Dorset Centurion newsletter can be read here

Save the date - SBRT 2024

The Sheep Breeders Round Table (SBRT) is looking to appoint new committee members.

SBRT is currently looking to bolster the independent individuals on the committee and is looking for volunteers with an interest and/or experience in sheep genetics and knowledge of SBRT.


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.

Dorset breeders complete pioneering work as new breeding values developed from abattoir data

Following in the footsteps of the RamCompare project, the Dorset Centurion group have looked at ways to use carcase records in their routine genetic evaluations. So far breeders have collated over four thousand carcase records (a growing dataset) and with support from AHDB/SRUC generated a series of new Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for traits of high economic worth

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.

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

“Breed for CH4nge” an industry collaboration that will help the industry to breed sheep with a naturally low carbon footprint.

AHDB are delighted to share news of our involvement in “Breed for CH4nge” an industry collaboration that will help the industry to breed sheep with a naturally low carbon footprint. There are a number of exciting elements to the project that align closely to AHDB’s research interests, and the genetic services delivered by Signet. The project will enhance our knowledge of genomics, breeding for parasite resistance and CT scanning, whilst assessing the benefits of using Portable Accumulation Chambers (PAC) to predict methane emissions in grazing sheep.

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.