Skip to the content
Menu

EWEBenefit

EWEBenefit - Latest news 21/08/2020

An initial deadline for receiving ewe mature weight, body condition score and abattoir data has been set for 11th September.

Data provided after this date will be used in future breeding values, but may not contribute to the initial research. If you have historic records, please can you forward them at your earliest convenience. 

EWEBenefit - Latest news 19/08/2020

The presentation from Lleyn meeting on 18/08/2020 is available here.

The main messages to breeders were that Signet is keen to obtain the following records over the next 6 weeks for use in genetic parameter estimation:-

  • Ewe Mature Size
  • Ewe Body Condition Score
  • Abattoir Records

Further details on how each of these records can be supplied is provided below. For more information contact Ed Brant, E-Mail [email protected] 

Supplying Ewe Mature Weights

Breeders wishing to supply ewe mature size data to the project should do so as an xls or csv file in the following format, with column headings exactly as follows:- 

  • SHEEP ID
  • SEX
  • BREED
  • MATURE WEIGHT
  • MATURE WEIGH DATE
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP

Example

SHEEP ID SEX BREED MATURE WEIGHT MATURE WEIGH DATE MANAGEMENT GROUP
UK 0 123456 12345 F LLEYN 63 18/08/2020 1
UK 0 123456 12346 F LLEYN 72 18/08/2020 1

Where the data under each heading is as follows:-

  • SHEEP ID (Flock book number or UK ministry number exactly as held on database - with spaces as follows "UK 0 123456 12345"
  • SEX (M, F, C - though in reality all will be F)
  • BREED (In Capitals as follows - LLEYN, EXLANA, ROMNEY)
  • MATURE WEIGHT (Numeric and in kg)
  • MATURE WEIGH DATE (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP (Values 1-9 to indicate any differences in management) - where all the same simply put 1

Click here for example template 

 

Supplying Ewe Body Condition Score Data

Breeders wishing to supply ewe body condition score to the project should do so as an xls or csv file in the following format, with column headings exactly as follows:- 

  • SHEEP ID
  • SEX
  • BREED
  • SYSTEM VARIABLE CODE
  • MEASUREMENT
  • MEASUREMENT DATE
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP

Example

SHEEP ID SEX BREED SYSTEM VARIABLE CODE MEASUREMENT MEASUREMENT DATE MANAGEMENT GROUP
UK 0 123456 12345 F LLEYN S501 4 18/08/2020 1
UK 0 123456 12346 F LLEYN S501 3.5 18/08/2020 1

Where the data under each heading is as follows:-

  • SHEEP ID (Flock book number or UK ministry number exactly as held on database - with spaces as follows "UK 0 123456 12345"
  • SEX (M, F, C - though in reality all will be F)
  • BREED (In Capitals as follows - LLEYN, EXLANA, ROMNEY)
  • SYSTEM VARIABLE CODE - Is "S501" which is the code to show it is a Body Condition Score
  • MEASUREMENT - A Body Condition Score between 0.5 and 5 to the nearest half or whole score.  
  • MEASUREMENT DATE (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP (Values 1-9 to indicate any differences in management) - where all the same simply put 1

Click here for example template 

 

Supplying Abattoir Data

Breeders wishing to supply abattoir data to the project should do so as an xls or csv file in the following format, with column headings exactly as follows:- 

  • SHEEP ID
  • COLD CARCASE WEIGHT
  • CONFORMATION
  • FAT CLASS
  • ABATTOIR
  • SLAUGHTER DATE
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP

Example

SHEEP ID COLD CARCASE WEIGHT CONFORMATION FAT CLASS ABATTOIR SLAUGHTER DATE MANAGEMENT GROUP
UK 0 123456 10001 15.5 R 2 DUNBIA 18/08/2020 1
UK 0 123456 10002 17 U 3H DUNBIA 18/08/2020 1
UK 0 123456 10003 16 R 2 DUNBIA 09/09/2020 2

Where the data under each heading is as follows:-

  • SHEEP ID (Flock book number or UK ministry number exactly as held on database - with spaces as follows "UK 0 123456 12345"
  • COLD CARCASE WEIGHT - Weight in kg
  • CONFORMATION - E, U, R, O, P
  • FAT CLASS - 1, 2, 3L, 3H, 4, 5
  • ABATTOIR - Enter Abattoir Name
  • SLAUGHTER DATE - (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • MANAGEMENT GROUP (Values 1-9 to indicate any differences in management) - where all the same simply put 1

Click here for example template 

EWEBenefit -  Efficiency With Environmental Benefits through optimising sheep genetics

EWEBenefit will develop a new approach to UK sheep genetic evaluations to fast track genetic gain through the development of new breeding values, indexes and producer friendly support tools.

Background

Engagement in performance recording in large maternal flocks has increased over the last decade, as breeders use modern software solutions to aid data capture and commercial producers increasingly look to breed their own replacements (controlling their genetics, biosecurity and enhancing flock health). However, our maternal sheep breeding evaluations are currently fragmented between breeds and limited in their scope to tackle the largest datasets (including commercial data) - thus an update to our evalutions is required.

While it is recognised that future genetic approaches will capitalise on greater access to new phenotypes and new genomic approaches, the bedrock on which these strategies will be built must be more accurate, efficient and flexible for the industry to capitalise on the data being captured (and to encourage its capture in the first place).

EWEBenefit project will:-

  • Pull together 2 million animal records for lowland maternal breeds (including Lleyn, Romney, Exlana and Easycare genetics) to produce a single, enhanced monthly evaluation.
  • Develop new breeding values for traits like lamb survival, lambing ease and ewe longevity
  • Develop abattoir derived breeding values
  • Incorporate data from commercial and crossbred datasets (from existing phenotype farms).
  • Create breeding indexes that assess both the physical, financial and environmental impact of performance, moving the focus from ewe productivity to ewe efficiency in a manner that is both sustainable and has a known environmental impact.
  • Assess alternative index outcomes in environmental terms to understand the link between genetics and the environment.
  • Create new, farmer friendly sub-indexes to make ram selection easier
Activities within EWEBenefit

There will be three work packages delivered :-

Work package 1. Development of a new, multi-breed BLUP model

Create a new, two part genetic evaluation to assess

  • Growth and carcase traits - 14 traits, including lamb growth rate, ewe weights and abattoir traits
  • Health and fertility traits - 12 traits, including breeding for parasite resistance, reproductive performance and longevity

Work package 2. Index creation

Create a breeding index (or indexes) using desired gains approaches that take into account both economic principles and knowledge of breeder requirements to enhance both ewe productivity, efficiency and environmental impact.

Detailed analysis will assess the impact of restricting ewe mature size, as well as index sensitivity to index weighting changes for ewe longevity, lamb growth rate, lamb survival and the number of lambs reared.

The environmental impact of the proposed breeding index will be modelled to determine what a breeding index solely focussed on environmental gains might look like and thus we can assess the trade-off between flock performance and the environment.

Work Package 3. Industry engagement – Through access to simple sub-indexes

We will document and assess how new, simple sub-indexes could be derived from a combination of existing EBVs to create more relatable customer focussed breeding tools. Through stakeholder engagement, we will look at their relative value (or miss-use) in a breeding programme and their potential as marketing tools to create better engagement with commercial producers.

Practical examples might include:-

  • lifetime number of lambs reared (ewe longevity + litter size reared)
  • days to slaughter (carcase data + correlated growth traits)
  • kilogrammes of lamb reared per kilogramme of ewe (a common industry ratio trait taking into account mature size EBVs and lamb growth rate EBVs)
  • lamb value – index purely looking at offspring value (terminal sire index within a maternal breeding programme)
  • Parasite+ a very simple sub-index of FEC and IgA traits

This achnowledges significant financial support from AHDB and CIEL.