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Top Quality Tups Sought for Genetic Improvement Project

14 March 2016

UK - Nominations are being sought for rams to take part in the second year of the ground-breaking RamCompare project, AHDB Beef & Lamb has said.

The team behind the project, which aims to boost the sheep industry’s genetic improvement by including commercial data in genetic evaluations, have already selected five artificial insemination (AI) sires for performance testing in 2017.

Semen from each ram will be used on at least two of the trial farms. Data collected on their progeny will help strengthen statistical comparisons made between other rams already on test and those used for natural mating.

The next step is to purchase 24 rams for use within the single-sire mating groups on the trial farms in the second year. Six Texel, Suffolk and Charollais rams, and three Meatlinc and Hampshire Down rams are required for the project. All breeders who are involved in performance recording are being contacted to encourage nominations.

To take part, the rams must meet the following criteria:

  • Be performance recorded
  • Be in the top 20 per cent of the breed based on growth and carcase Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)
  • Be from a flock with good genetic linkage to other flocks
  • Have a known and high health status and be from a Maedi Visna-accredited flock
  • Be available from July 2016
  • Declare CLA/Johnes vaccinations
  • Provide genetic diversity to the rams that have already been used
  • Be shearling or older rams

A fixed price of £750, including haulage, will be offered for rams selected and breeders can provide a maximum of two rams per farm into the project.

Mature stock rams with progeny on the ground can also be nominated. If more nominations fitting the criteria are received than the number of rams required, then proximity to RamCompare flocks will be used to select animals.

Samuel Boon, AHDB Breeding Services Manager, said: “It is exciting to embark on this next phase of the project and we are pleased with the support received from pedigree breeders to date.

“We are encouraged to find that breeders are keen to have animals involved and are already approaching us with potential rams. We have made contact with all registered performance-recorded breeders and are confident that the project will move forward with some excellent genetics involved.”

Rams will be selected to ensure there is variation in the genetic merit of those tested and, where possible, the team will seek to ensure different breeding lines are used.

The first RamCompare lambs have been born and extensive data recording from birth to slaughter will be carried out in order to inform genetic evaluations, with performance data being included from farms through to abattoirs.

The project is being used as a pilot to trial strategies for data capture and will be similar to central progeny tests that are taking place in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

More information on the RamCompare project can be found on the Signet website. Please email Bridget Lloyd with details of rams for consideration, nominations will close on 31 March 2016.

TheSheepSite News Desk



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