Aurelie Aubry, AFBI, Northern Ireland
Unit located at two sites with lowland grazing pastures – Hillsborough/Loughall.
- 300 composite ewes are used for the trial
- Over two breeding seasons (2017 and 2018), artificial insemination sires have included both Signet and Sheep Ireland performance recorded Suffolk and Texel rams
- Lambing indoors in March all lambs are tagged at birth and fully recorded
- Managed in a 4-paddock rotational grazing system, lambs are weighed fortnightly from six weeks of age and are finished off grass from late July
- Home to the UK’s first electronic feed and water intake monitoring system for sheep, the AFBI research unit is able to monitor individual intakes and continuous live weight gain for up to 40 sheep simultaneously. This equipment is being used to investigate the effect of sire EBV for muscle on the net feed efficiency of a sub-sample of progeny (80 lambs).
Key objective: “The feed efficiency unit will facilitate more precise investigations into the interactions between genetics and nutrition factors. This will ensure that through evaluating such innovations, we can improve production efficiency and profitability of sheep production in the UK.’’ Aurélie Aubry, Senior Sheep Researcher, AFBI