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Press release

RamCompare is recruiting new flocks this season

RamCompare is on the look-out for new farms to recruit across England and Wales. The project collects data from birth to slaughter from commercial UK farms. RamCompare host farms provide a minimum of 300 ewes which are mated to performance recorded terminal sires. All flock data is collected using electronic identification (EID) and all commercial lambs are reared as one management group within a fast-finishing system.

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.

National Beef Evaluation Carcase Trait EBVs now available through Signet

Since 2018, AHDB has published the National Beef Evaluations, providing estimated breeding values (EBVs) for all breeds and crossbreeds of cattle to allow breeders to select animals for improved carcase and maternal traits. We are now working to make these tools available for Signet recording breeds through the Signet website, which will allow breeders to use all the available information in one place, to select the best breeding animals for their herd. This has been launched for Sussex breeders and other breeds will follow over the next few months, so watch this space.

Signet joins forces with teams from across AHDB to deliver a series of workshops across the North of England.

Each event provided attendees the opportunity to join a series of stations with expert speakers covering topics from genetics to market insights to butchery and selection demonstrations. Designed to challenge ideas and highlight opportunities for improvements within the farming systems and the consumer in mind.

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.


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.

“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.

Genomic breeding values launched and new presentation of the hill index

Signet are proud to announce the release of the UK’s first commercially available genomic breeding values for sheep. The release of genomic breeding values is a major first for the UK industry following research lead by Samir Id Lahoucine at SRUC; work was funded as part of the Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) lead Hill Ram Scheme and has been implemented as part of Farming Connects Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme.

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).  

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