UK - Early results from the RamCompare project are already very positive, says co-ordinator Bridget Lloyd.
The industry scheme aims to drive genetic improvement forward through the inclusion of commercial data in genetic evaluation and data analysis on the first crop of lambs is underway.
Lamb growth has been closely monitored throughout the season on the six project farms, with the collection of birth, eight-week, 90-day and sale weights. Over 10,000 weight records have been taken from lambs born this year and they are being entered into the Signet Breeding Services database.
Bridget Lloyd, RamCompare project coordinator, said: “Early analysis has shown a pleasing amount of variation, with some sires excelling and progeny growing quickly.”
More than 3,600 lambs were born in 2016, sired by 39 different rams registered for the project. The eight sires that were used via artificial insemination (AI) averaged 30 lambs each. The number of lambs from each natural service ram ranged from 47 to 154. The aim was 50 lambs per sire and this was achieved in all but one group.
Top 25 lists will be produced for rams on test for eight-week weight, scan weight, muscle depth and fat depth estimated breeding values (EBVs). New EBVs will be developed for days to slaughter and carcase value. The list of rams, irrespective of breed, will be published in November 2017.
Twenty-four rams have been selected for natural mating and performance testing in 2017. Bridget said: “It is a busy time as we enter the second year of the programme. The six project farms have been provided with four new rams to join natural service groups.
"The groups include some of last year’s rams to strengthen the linkage between years. All the newly selected rams have EBVs in the top 20 per cent for their breed and will provide variety to other rams on test.”
Semen from an additional five sires is being used via AI to increase links between the project farms. In total, the project will have tested 68 rams over its two-year duration.
TheSheepSite News Desk