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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. 

Sheep Breeders Round Table returns for a face-to-face conference

Following two years of covid restrictions which led to 2021’s online format, the Sheep Breeders Round Table (SBRT) are delighted to be back delivering their popular in-person conference this November, and you’re invited!

This year’s theme will be ‘UK sheep genetics delivering for the nation’ and the event takes place from Friday 11 - Sunday 13 November 2022 at the Radisson Blu Hotel at East Midlands Airport.

Pioneering work shows genetic traits that makes lambs more attractive to consumers

RamCompare year six results have continued to show the correlation between Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) in terminal sires and commercial productivity in lambs.

Signet’s Shear Force research has also proven that the animal’s genes do influence tenderness and that measurements of tenderness can be used to produce breeding values.

RamCompare year 6 press release - top breeding boosts profit and productivity in commercial lambs

RamCompare uses nominated performance-recorded rams from many breeds on commercial farms across the UK. RamCompare’s year six results demonstrate how rams with key breeding traits can optimise flock profitability. In four case studies flock profitability was enhanced by £1.98 to £5.17 per lamb; with some rams producing lambs that finished several weeks earlier than others.

The full results, which report the data collected and analysed from rams with the fastest growth rates, best conformation and most valuable progeny, will be presented in an industry webinar on 19 May, which is free to attend and open to all

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

RamCompare Results - Webinar 19th May at 7pm

As RamCompare completes its sixth year, please join us for an update on the latest data. Participating farms across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and industry partners, have helped to make this one of the sheep industry’s most successful research and knowledge exchange projects.

RamCompare is the national progeny test for terminal sire breeds, funded by the levy boards AHDB, HCC, QMS; supported by Agrisearch in Northern Ireland and working with partners across the food chain.

To find out more about the project results and also how you can be involved in the next phase, sign up to this free webinar.

Book now ( https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7160346696927724043?source=Email)

RamCompare Ram Nominations for 2022 are Open

RamCompare is seeking performance recorded rams and semen for the coming season.

Nominations can be made here. The closing date is 20th April 2022.

RamCompare is the UK’s commercial progeny test for terminal sires. Phase III funding has been announced which will widen the scope of the project and enable greater use to be made of abattoir data within genetic evaluations.

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.

Shaping the future with the latest Sheep Breed Survey results

More innovative use of crossbreeding within the British sheep industry was one of the most significant findings in the latest Sheep Breed Survey. These results indicate that cross breeding strategies are becoming more diverse, reflecting the way sheep producers are adapting with the times and striving to improve performance.

The Sheep Breed Survey is an important reference point for researchers, funders and policy makers. It has been completed five times since 1971, with the last results published in 2012. The survey provides a unique insight into how the agricultural industry has changed over 50 years and highlights how future policy decisions may influence lowland and upland sheep production.