The search is on for the country’s best rams as pedigree breeders are invited to put forward rams believed to have good lamb growth, carcase weight and conformation.
Now in its fifth year, RamCompare uses data from throughout the supply chain to inform genetic evaluations. During three seasons, more than 6,600 ewes have been mated to over 138 leading rams through artificial insemination (AI) and natural mating. Over 200 rams will have been progeny tested by the end of next summer.
Results from the project will enable commercial farmers to select Signet recorded rams that produce progeny that are more likely to meet target market specifications. Pedigree breeders will be able to enhance the breeding of rams for commercially important traits, as well as using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to market rams in the coming year.
Bridget Lloyd, RamCompare’s project coordinator, said: “This is a great opportunity for breeders to contribute to an important industry project, which they can use to promote their rams. In 2019, new breeding values for primal yield and shear force will be released – bringing leading flocks into the spotlight.”
- Rams and semen must meet the following criteria to be nominated for RamCompare:
- * EBVs in top 20 per cent of the breed
- * Good history of performance records of the ram and its progeny (eg ultrasound scan, computed tomography (CT) data
- * Shearling in autumn 2019 or older
- * Good and known health status and be from a Maedi Visna-accredited flock
- * Good genetic linkage to other flocks
- * Provide genetic diversity to the rams that have already been used in the RamCompare project
- * Part of a Signet-recorded flock.
For breeders who want to nominate semen, there is a minimum requirement of 30 doses for use via artificial insemination (AI). For natural service sires, fit and fertile rams are required, with preference given to rams that are shearlings or older.