Chawton Park – Large commercial flock benefits from additional carcase weight and improved conformation achieving higher carcase value.
Ian Robertson farms in Hampshire, running a large flock of pedigree Lleyn ewes which are grazed all year around and lamb outdoors in May. This 1,400 strong ewe flock has allowed us to test large number of rams each year with some sizable progeny groups.
There were major differences in the overall performance from sires on test at Chawton Park, with the best Texel sires producing progeny with better carcase grades compared to other lower performing sires from the range of breeds on test. These high achieving rams were already highly rated within their breed with impressive breeding values for muscling, and this was replicated in abattoir grading sheets.
The top-rated ram for carcase conformation was a Texel ram, Bissetdown Doombar bred by Heather Royle, who was closely followed by two other Texel rams, Penygelli PAP2003694 bred by Alwyn Phillips and UK 0 207139 01807 bred by Patrick Kane. All three of these rams were highly rated for conformation and produced progeny that achieved 94% R grade or better.
These sires were closely followed by a Southdown ram, Andersey 883:170607 bred by Robert Beaumont, this ram was sits within the top 10% of the breed for Terminal Sire Index and ranked highly for carcase conformation.
Another standout sire was 1288:2000111 an Oxford Down ram, from the Lydiard flock bred by Lindsay Rumming, this ram had progeny that on average reduced days to slaughter by 10 days compared to the farm average for the year.
Large differences in progeny values can be linked to the genetic merit of their sires, carcase conformation can have a large impact on overall lamb value and profit from a large commercial lamb enterprise.