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Cwmlliw Farm – Selecting rams which excel for growth traits can reduce finishing time on farm.

Stephen Abberley farms in Brecon, having recently joined the project to be able test performance recorded rams alongside his own pedigree Texel rams. The commercial ewe flock is made up of 400 Welsh mules, lambed inside from the end of March before being turned out as to grass, they are managed as one large mob from six weeks of age and finished off grass.

The value of sires with superior breeding values for days to slaughter has been highlighted on this farm, with rams excelling in this trait standing out from other lower performing sires, producing progeny finishing more than 10 days quicker.

The top three sires were Texel and Hampshire Down sires. The leading sire was a homebred Texel ABP1907933 from Stephen’s Old Hemley flock, he was closely followed by an Antur Texel, AAA2015827 supplied by IBERS, Aberystwyth and a Normanby Hampshire Down, 27Z2001641 bred by Ed Brant.  These rams had Scan Weight EBVs in the top 10% and excelled compared against lower performing sires on test, Texel C.

Fast finishing genetics has an added benefit in a summer such as 2022, when long periods of very hot weather and little rain is a challenge for many farmers across the country and there becomes a need to supplement growing lambs with additional forage or concentrates.

Key message:
Selecting rams which excel for growth traits can reduce finishing time on farm and help to increase profitability.