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Sandlands Farm - Rams with superior genetics for speed of finishing and carcase value influence commercial flock profitability

Charles Sercombe farms with his family based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. They run a large sheep enterprise compromising of both pedigree and commercial flocks and joined RamCompare in 2021 interested to see which genetics worked well to enhance outputs from their commercial flock. The large commercial flock is made up of Lleyn X Aberfield ewes, these lamb in April after the pedigree sheep, with a team effort from the family to ensure accurate data recording. Ewes and lambs are quickly turned out to grass and as grass quality is generally poor were supplemented with creep to maintain early growth and achieve early marketing.

Rams with superior genetics for speed of finishing and carcase value will both have a positive influence on flock profitability – the relative importance of either attribute depends on the farming system under which lambs are reared and the market they are destined for.

From rams on test at this farm, the impressive Hyde Valegro, 20SU00957 a Charollais ram bred by Stuart Dunkley, topped the rankings for Days to Slaughter, Carcase Weight, and Carcase Conformation. Furthermore, 91% of lambs sired by this ram achieved E or U grades at the abattoir whilst reducing days to slaughter.

This leading Charollais was followed by the Texel linkage ram Drinkstone Rocket Gun, PJP1000047 bred by R J L Park and supplied by the IBERS, Antur flock and a Meatlinc ram bred by George Fell, HRF:10917. All of these achieved the top three places for carcase weight.

When comparing the top and bottom performing sires at this farm we can see the added value of days to slaughter and carcase weight generating more than £3 per lamb, multiplied across the lamb crop this can easily equate to additional £1000 across a ram’s working life.  



Carcase Weight EBV

Days to Slaughter EBV

Average Lamb Value (incorporating the value of reduced days to slaughter)

Top 3 sires for Carcase Weight EBV




Average of all sires for Carcase Weight EBV




Bottom 3 sires for Carcase Weight EBV





Key message

Large differences in progeny values can be linked to the genetic merit of their sires, with rams that rank highly for carcase conformation and days to slaughter, increasing on farm profitability. Using Estimated Breeding Values can help ram buyers identify and select the most profitable rams when they are looking to purchase breeding rams.