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Hampshire Premier Sale

Demand for performance recorded Hampshire’s drives prices high at Shrewsbury

Performance recorded ram lambs lead the top prices at the Hampshire premier sale. The leading price of 5,200 guineas was D472101344 from the Creely flock, with an index in the top 5% of the breed. The next highest price went to the Graylen flock for the top ram lamb in the country based on Index- 370 (24Y2104321), this ram lamb was the supreme champion in the pre-sale show. His high index was driven by his CT data, having high values for CT lean weight (the amount of muscle in the carcase at a fixed weight).

Performance recording combines pedigree and performance information to calculate an animal’s genetic merit for important traits. These are expressed as Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) which can be used to identify the sheep with the best genetics.

Performance recording added value to the sheep on sale, with a strong link between the prices achieved for the rams and their breeding index (the overall genetic merit of the sheep). Performance recorded sheep with high genetic merit achieved a strong premium against the non-recorded entries. Rams in the top 5% of the breed had a 349 guinea premium over the rams from non-recorded flocks.

The demand for performance recorded sheep wasn’t just seen in their prices, but was also reflected in the clearance rates. Performance recorded rams had a higher clearance rate nearly double that of their non- recorded counterparts. Rams in the top 5% and 10% of the breed achieved a 100% clearance and clearance rates reduced as the index fell, showing a clear demand for high genetic merit rams.

There are currently high levels of performance recording in the Hampshire Down breed; with recorded rams siring two thirds of the lambs in the 2020 season. The value both breeders and purchasers give to performance recording and the genetic gains the breed has achieved was shown by the proportion of recorded sheep in the sale; two thirds of the animals in the sale were performance recorded.

For the sheep that were available from non-recorded flocks, 72% were sired by performance recorded sheep. The high levels of performance recording in the Hampshire breed means that the breed has made great progress over the past 20 years in both their overall Terminal Index, Scan Weight EBV (growth), Muscle Depth EBV (carcase value) and CT Lean Weight EBV.

To find performance recorded sheep for sale, head to Signet’s Sheep for Sale page which shows some of the sheep for sale on farm, through auctions and those with semen available.

Recording your flock is simple and is easy to fit in with pedigree flock management, helping to add extra value to your flock and make fast genetic gains in commercially important traits. Breeders need to collect pedigree information at lambing, weigh lambs when they are between 42 and 84 days, and weigh lambs again when the lambs are approaching 40kg. There is also the option to ultrasound scan and CT scan lambs to gain valuable information about carcase quality. To find more information about recording your flock, head to

Photos taken by MacGregor photography, provided courtesy of the Hampshire Down Breed Association.

About the author

Samuel Boon

Samuel Boon

I am the Manager of Signet Breeding Services, within the AHDB.

Enthusiast on all things genetics to do with sheep and cattle and currently also supporting Bridget Lloyd in running the @RamCompare progeny test with ~18,000 lambs/annum.

I am also involved with the:-

  • Relaunch of Terminal Sire Breeding Programmes (Sheep)
  • AHDB lead for the Welsh Sheep Breeding Project run by HCC - working with Innovis, HCC and Janet Roden
  • Database design and development for this website
  • National Sheep Breeds Survey
  • Development of Carcase Trait EBVs in Beef Cattle
  • Formerly involved with the delivery of the Welsh Sheep Strategy, Northern Upland Sheep Strategy, Suckler Cow Project, Highlands and Islands Sheep Strategy

I can be followed on Twitter @SamBoonBreeding