Pedigree ram nominations open for RamCompare 2022
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 for use within RamCompare.
RamCompare is the national progeny test for terminal sire breeds, funded by the levy boards AHDB, HCC, QMS and supported by Agrisearch in Northern Ireland, working with partners across the food chain. The project uses data from throughout the supply chain to inform genetic evaluations. To date, 313 terminal sire rams have been on test producing over 30,000 lambs from commercial ewes, mated using artificial insemination (AI) or natural service.
The project has clearly demonstrated the commercial value of profitable sires using performance recorded rams with a high genetic merit to create a series of new breeding values derived from abattoir data. It helps to “shape the future” for our UK lamb industry targeting some of the levy-board strategic priorities;
- Driving the use of superior genetics on-farm, through increased understanding and use of estimated breeding values (EBVs)
- Farming to benefit our environment, with more commercial lambs hitting target carcase specifications and reaching slaughter weight sooner reducing the carbon footprint of UK livestock farming
Pedigree breeders use this data to enhance their breeding enterprises; breeding superior rams for commercially important traits and using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to market rams.
Results from the project enable commercial farmers to select superior performance recorded rams whose progeny are better able to meet market specifications with improved efficiency, carcase value and a reduced cost of production.
RamCompare seeks new ram nominations
Each year nominated rams are selected from a range of terminal sire breeds and used on commercial farms across the UK. Their progeny are monitored from birth through to slaughter with the data collected being fed back to Signet for use within breeding evaluations. The project aims to test over 70 rams each year and nominations are now open for the 2022 mating season.
The project is primarily looking for rams with EBVs in top 20% of the breed. The natural service sires should be shearlings or older and have a known, high health status. Nominations of fit and fertile, older stock rams are extremely welcome. Frozen semen is also being purchased in batches of 30 straws for use via artificial insemination.
Beth Alexander, Cattle & Sheep Specialist at QMS said:
“RamCompare is an excellent opportunity for ram breeders in Scotland to get involved in a UK-wide project which not only benefits the industry but can provide them with data and feedback on their nominated rams and compare against flocks of all breeds from across the country.’
Bridget Lloyd, RamCompare Project Coordinator, said: “This is a great opportunity for breeders to contribute to this industry project, data from which can be used to promote their flocks and the rams they have for sale. Updated results are released in May bringing leading flocks into the spotlight through breed specific articles and commercial farm case studies.”
“When selecting rams, sheep producers must identify those rams whose genetics will have the greatest influence on their production system. This trial is a great way to measure and assess this impact.”
Improving efficiency and reducing costs are both key drivers for any business - sheep breeders involved with the RamCompare project, confirm that investing in a recorded ram with the right genetic merit can tick both boxes. We welcome nominations for the 2022 mating season, the seventh year the progeny test has run, and encourage all ram breeders to take part.
Ram nominations are now open
The full criteria and online nomination process can be accessed via the Signet website - nominations close on 20th April; contact Bridget.Lloyd@ahdb.org.uk directly for more details. Forms are available online:
Are you collecting abattoir data? Please contact us if you are currently collecting abattoir data from single sire matings in either your pedigree or commercial flock or if you have commercial clients that are using your rams who may be interested in working with us. This data may be really useful in enhancing future genetic evaluations of your stock and some breeders are already starting to submit this information directly to Signet.