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RamCompare Case Study - Dupath Farm


Charollais breeders have supported the RamCompare project since the early days, more than 100 Charollais sires have been put to the test on commercial farms across the country.  Collecting data from birth through to slaughter on over 19,000 lambs.

A huge thank you to breeders for supporting the project and providing sires for test. Highlighting the merit of performance record flocks and showing how high genetic merit sires perform on commercial farms.

The development of new breeding values provide a more accurate predictor of carcase value to complement the current breeding values published for all terminal sires. These abattoir derived breeding values include Days to Slaughter, Carcase Weight, Carcase Conformation and Carcase Fat Class. A new index, Lamb Value ranks rams based on the expected profitability of their lamb crop.

Having tested many Charollais sires throughout the project then it is fitting to focus on Adrian and Lyn Coombe who farm at Dupath Farm, Cornwall. 

Dupath Farm Case Study

Adrian Coombe farms with his family in Callington, Cornwall. They run a mixed farm of livestock and arable, the entire flock of 500 North Country Mules are used for the RamCompare project. Dupath farm has been part of the RamCompare project since 2017. Ewes are lambed indoors in March before being turned out into grass paddocks as part of a rotational system, lambs are finished from grass from mid-June.

In 2023 lambs were sired by Hampshire Down, Shropshire, Suffolk, Meatlinc, Texel and Charollais rams, with a large number of Charollais on test this year.

This case study will focus at Charollais sired lambs born in 2023, lambs were by a range of rams. This included recent top-performing genetics compared against sires born more than 35 years ago using semen that has been stored for many decades.

One standout Charollais ram on this farm is 21WGH02827 from Jamie Wild’s Redhill flock sired by Hundalee Volcano (who has also performed well at ChazCompare), this Redhill ram not only achieved high carcase weights but progeny left the farm more than two weeks earlier than other Charollais rams on test. Highlighting a strong relationship between Scan Weight EBV and days to slaughter.

Another notable sire and one breeders may not have read about for a considerable number of years is Crogham Centurion (8AB8125), born in 1988 and one of the first sire reference rams and remained unbeaten for many years. Arguably one of the most influential recorded sheep in the breed. Centurion has been used across many pedigree flocks and has more than 1000 progeny records in the Signet database.  

The graph above highlights the significant genetic improvement within the Charollais breed, high genetic merit rams born in recent years are producing lambs with greater carcase weights whilst reducing days to slaughter.  The gain from using high genetic merit Charollais rams at Dupath is clear to see. At 15p/day, the reduction in finishing time achieved by the best sires is easily worth an extra £5-6/lamb – and these lambs were heavier at slaughter too.

A comparison of kill sheets for these lambs clearly demonstrates the financial advantage of using a high genetic merit sire. With a £3.02/lamb difference at the abattoir between the Redhill ram (21WGH02827) and Crogham Centurion (8AB8125) and considering the value of reduced days to slaughter, this amounts to a £6.62/lamb difference.

With farmers showing an increasing interest in getting lambs finished more quickly from forage, ram breeders should use EBVs when selecting their future stock sires and consider how they can get their carcase data included in the National Terminal Sire Evaluation.

Take home message

The message for commercial ram buyers is very simple. If you want to increase carcase weight, then select rams with high Scan Weight EBVs. Head to to find a recorded flock near you.

For more information about recording your flock contact [email protected]

About the author

Laura Eyles

Laura Eyles

Laura has joined the Signet team as a breeding specialist, she comes from an agricultural background having grown up on a sheep farm in Cornwall, where they keep commercial ewes and run a small flock of pedigree Charollais sheep.

Laura has a strong interest in animal breeding and genetics having studied Animal Science (BSc Hons) at Harper Adams University. During her time at Harper, she spent an industrial placement in Cumbria working for a sheep breeding company and some of our clients may recognise her from this role. Since graduating she has worked for a large cattle breeding company before joining us at Signet to lead on a number of Signet’s sheep breeding projects.