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By Cruelty Free International

New report celebrates sheep industry genetic progress

AHDB | AHDB Beef and Lamb

2 min read Partner content

Genetic advances in the English sheep industry have been championed in a new report from AHDB Beef Lamb.

‘A Decade of Genetic Progress in the English Sheep Industry’, was released to the industry at the Sheep Breeders’ Round Table event in Nottingham. The review looks at the ten years since AHDB Beef Lamb launched the Better Returns Programme (BRP), which focuses on the use of superior genetics as one of its key areas.

The publication demonstrates how genetic gain is having a real impact at farm level, by focusing on the achievements of breeders in England and giving examples of best practice with regard to the breeding and marketing of rams. It features success stories from farmers who have found huge benefit from flock recording and the use of technology such as Computed Tomography (CT) scanning. The report also includes an overview of Signet services which includes technical advice showing how breeders could make faster rates of genetic gain in their flocks.

Chris Lloyd, AHDB Research and Development and Knowledge Exchange Director of Livestock said that ten years ago, encouraging commercial farmers to embrace the benefits of performance recording was a challenge.

“The progress made since then is clear, with performance-recorded flock producers reporting greater interest in recorded sheep and the most progressive customers looking for estimated breeding value (EBV) information to select breeding stock according to their farm situation.”

Signet Manager Samuel Boon added: “At an industry level, the impact of a successful breeding programme is not solely about genetic change, but also the penetration rate of recorded rams within the industry.

“While the proportion of flocks in the UK that record with Signet may not be high, by targeting the larger flocks selling rams to other people, the national impact of performance recording is significant.

“The proportion of the Texel lamb crop sired by a Signet recorded ram has now reached 40 per cent of all lambs born, while more than 60 per cent of Hampshire Down lambs are by a Signet-recorded ram.”

‘A Decade of Genetic Progress in the English Sheep Industry’ will be made available to all of Signet Breeding Services clients. It is also available to download from the Signet website and the AHDB Beef Lamb website. Alternatively email to request a hard copy.

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