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How an API can get your latest EBVs in a single click

Signet has developed a very simple way for breeders to obtain the latest breeding values for their sheep flock at the click of a button.

The development uses an API (application programming interface) which means a message can be sent via the internet to grab information of interest from the Signet database and take it back to the user as a simple text file.

While this might not be of direct benefit to breeders, who can already use a wide range of new, online reporting tools to create lists of sheep in both Excel and pdf formats – it is a powerful tool for farm software providers, like Border Software, who are able to pull this data into their applications.


Getting started

To get information back from the database, the user should type a URL address string into their web browser in the following format


  • XXXXX = Your flock code
  • BBBBB = Your breed organisation name
  • YYYYMMDD = The date in the format (YYYYMMDD) from which

In the example below we are looking for flock code AB, breed Charollais and sheep born after 15th March 2018.

If the flock code has a space in it, then the space should be replaced with “ + “

For example this Lleyn flock, UK 0 167577, should be entered as UK+0+167577

For most breeds, the “breed organisation name” is simply the name used by Signet – but note that for Suffolk sheep, it is “Suffolk Sheep Society” or Suffolk+Sheep+Society as it should be written. If in doubt, ask Signet for the Breed Organisation name on the database.


Limiting the search to live animals

In large flocks these processes are likely to timeout due to the size of the flock – but by adding the following code onto the end of the query, you can just pull back sheep that are live in the flock


For example


Getting records for a specific sex

By adding the following onto the end of the query, you can just pull back sheep of a given sex; F, M or C


For example

and the two lines of code can be used in combination to just find live females.


Finding an individual animal

An additional API has even been written to pull back an individual animal’s record based on the UK ministry number of the animal. Here the value on the end changes to the UK number, with spaces replaced with “ + “.

For example UK 0 162361 01754 would be entered on the end of the URL as UK+0+162361+01754 as follows

Who can use this information?

This data is really useful for farm software providers; so companies like Border Software routinely use this function to harvest the latest EBVs for their clients and upload it directly into their on-farm software.