RamCompare, the UK progeny test, is seeking nominations for new rams and artificial insemination (AI) sires to take part in performance testing in 2018.
The industry project, which has tested 70 rams in its initial phase, is now expanding into phase two, testing more rams and representing more breeds.
RamCompare is looking for 26 AI sires and 38 rams to be used within the single-sire mating groups on trial farms. Data collected on progeny from these sires will help strengthen statistical comparisons made between other rams already being tested.
The project has allocated 52 places for seven of the most numerically important breeds (Suffolk, Texel, Charollais, Meatlinc, Hampshire Down, Poll Dorset and Beltex). There are also 12 open nomination places available for numerically smaller breeds, such as Blue Texel, Bleu du Maine, Vendeen, Shropshire and Southdown.
These terminal sire breeds are actively performance recorded with Signet Breeding Services and are currently included within the Combined Breed Analysis research project. Other terminal sire breeds may be considered.
To take part, the rams must meet the following criteria:
- Be performance recorded
- Be in the top 20 per cent of the breed based on growth and carcase estimated breeding values (EBVs)
- Be from a flock with good genetic linkage to other flocks
- Have a known and high health status and be from a Maedi Visna-accredited flock
- Be available from July 2017
- Declare CLA/Johnes vaccinations
- Provide genetic diversity to the rams that have already been used
- Be shearlings or older rams.
Samuel Boon, AHDB Breeding Services Manager, said: “It is exciting to embark on the next phase of the project. We are encouraged to find that breeders are keen to have animals involved and are already approaching us with potential rams.
“Rams will be selected to ensure there is variation in the genetic merit of those tested in phase one and, where possible, the team will seek to ensure different breeding lines are used.”
The aim of RamCompare is to enable the UK sheep industry to drive genetic improvement forward through the inclusion of commercial data in genetic evaluations.