RamCompare - Recruiting New Flocks as Phase III Announced
What is RamCompare?
RamCompare is the national progeny test for terminal sire breeds and is funded by the levy boards (AHDB, HCC, QMS) with Signet Breeding Services providing data collation and analysis services. The project is supported by Agrisearch in Northern Ireland, with whom it has a close working relationship.
The project works with partners across the food chain to drive faster rates of genetic improvement in the UK sheep industry. RamCompare supports this goal through the provision of data from commercial farms and abattoir records which are incorporated into the genetic evaluations delivered by Signet.
Each year nominated performance-recorded rams are taken from various terminal sire breeds and used on commercial farms across the UK. The progeny produced from this breeding programme are monitored from birth through to slaughter with the data collected being fed back to Signet.
To date we have progeny tested over 280 rams from 11 different breeds, collecting data from over 26,000 lambs in one of the largest trials of its kind. For more information go to www.ramcompare.com
We are recruiting new flocks
In March 2021 funding was announced to develop the next phase of RamCompare. We are looking for additional commercial sheep farms to join the project and support our data collection activities.
Ideally we would like to recruit new farms in England, Scotland and Wales to join the project.
Within RamCompare there are slightly different ways that flocks can engage with the project depending on their willingness to use artificial insemination (AI) and provide access to the lamb crop for ultrasound scanning. We would strongly encourage new flocks to partake in the AI programme in their first year.
What do RamCompare farms get from the project?
- Engagement in one of the UK’s leading sheep breeding projects
- A farm payment (dependent on the quality and quantity of records provided)
- The provision of recorded rams for natural mating, including funding for associated health and fertility testing
- Funding to undertake AI with a portion of the flock
Other ways to participate in RamCompare – Bolt-on Projects
We do have some funding to support the analysis of data for farms that wish to “bolt-on” to the work being undertaken within RamCompare. In this scenario the farms provide the rams to be tested, rather than the project and a payment is made for the data collected. Support for AI can be provided if required.
This type of approach may suit farmers that already have a high genetic merit team of performance recorded rams or wish to work with a group of ram breeders to test rams on their behalf. Farmers wishing to be considered for funding to provide data as a “bolt-on project” should contact us directly, as funding will be subject to the submission of a short breeding plan to explain which rams will be assessed and what data will be collected.
When do I need to get involved?
New farms will join the project ahead of the 2021 mating season. Plans are being made to continue the current program of progeny testing through to 2026. The application process opens on 15th March 2020 and will close on 16th April 2021. A link to the application form is provided below.
What do RamCompare flocks need to do?
Flocks joining RamCompare* must meet a strict criteria, which include…
- At least 350 uniformly bred ewes to be mated to rams nominated by the project
- Experienced EID user with own equipment and at least two years of experience collecting data, including the ability to collect lambing records and weights through a lamb’s life
- Able to rear all of the trial lambs on a similar system, ideally finishing them quickly over a defined time period
- Able to allocate ewes to single sire mating groups and undertake laparoscopic AI, if required
- Using an abattoir that reports standard kill data linked to an individual lamb ID
- Known flock health status, i.e. clear for MV, OPA, Johnes and following an active health plan
- Be willing to host events for interested farmers
*Greater flexibility will be considered for farms wishing to engage with RamCompare by being a Bolt-on Project.
Please complete the application form in Appendix 1 in the application form if you are interested in getting involved.
We will review the information provided and contact you if we think you meet our criteria.
Any interested parties should contact [email protected]