Sheep breeders looking to produce lambs that meet target specification now have access to two new manuals from AHDB.
The manuals, which are to be launched at the National Sheep Association (NSA) Sheep Event 2018, focus on buying recorded rams for maternal and terminal sires traits and replace AHDB’s previous ‘Buying a recorded ram for Better Returns’ manual.
The launch comes following a rise in farmers, both pedigree and commercial, using tools including Estimated Breed Values (EBVs) and taking traits such as growth rates and carcase conformation into consideration when buying rams. The resulting genetic improvement is estimated to be worth £10.7 million per annum to the British sheep sector.
Katie Thorley, AHDB senior knowledge transfer manager, said: “We’ve split our original manual into terminal sire and maternal sire traits to make it easier for farmers to focus their breeding plan on either finishing lambs or breeding replacements.
“It’s really important that farmers make these decisions based on more than whether the ram looks good. Just because a ram may be structurally sound doesn’t mean his lambs will have the ability to grow quickly. Tools like EBVs and indexes are freely available so we’re hoping these updated manuals will encourage more farmers to give them a try and, in doing so, generate better returns from their sheep enterprise.”