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Changes to the Signet Fee Structure for Clients in Wales

In delivering genetic evaluations to the UK sheep industry, Signet’s services are partially funded by the recording fees that are paid by Signet clients and partially funded by levy; with HCC (in Wales), QMS (in Scotland) and AHDB (in England) all contributing towards the basic cost of the data analysis services provided by the team of geneticists at SRUC.

Signet clients in Wales, Scotland and England have access to a subsidised recording service, with additional levy support provided (in varying amounts) for research, database/website maintenance, progeny testing (through RamCompare) and the capture of new measurements, like CT traits.

In Wales, HCC have supported Signet’s genetic improvement programme for many years; with the Hill Ram Scheme being a major success in introducing genomic technology into national sheep breeding programmes.

However for the coming year, budgetary changes mean that HCC are unable to fund:-

  • Routine support for Signet’s genetic evaluations for breeders in Wales
  • CT scanning (or the genotyping of CT scanned animals) for breeders in Wales

With this withdrawal of funding in mind, Signet will introduce a two-tier recording fee. Clients in Wales will be asked to pay an additional £95/flock (plus VAT) in addition to Signet’s standard recording fees, which were held in 2024 following a change to the fee structure in 2023 which had been developed to reduce recording fees for flocks supplying data electronically.

HCC have indicated that this position will be reviewed over the coming year and we will write to you in January 2025 to inform you of the position from April 2025.

Ideally Signet would have informed breeders in advance of the recording year, so that decisions could be made in plenty of time – but regrettably this decision was only made relatively recently. Ordinarily Signet would give clients at least 6-weeks notice of any planned changes to recording fees and with this in mind any client that notifies us of their decision to withdraw from the service has until 1st June 2024 to inform us of their decision (in writing please; an email would be fine) and this being the case their information would be withdrawn from publication and no recording fee would be charged.

Please note

  • These changes have no impact on the ultrasound scanning fees charged to clients in Wales, where the scanning service is delivered by Innovis.
  • CT scanning is still available through SRUC at an unsubsidised rate, please contact Kirsty McLean at SRUC [email protected].
  • These changes won’t affect clients recording through Farming Connect’s Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme, where funding for the coming year had already been secured.

If you wish to discuss the issue in more detail with either Signet or HCC please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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