Genetic improvement in the spotlight at industry event

The release of preliminary results from the industry’s RamCompare project will be the highlight of the 2017 Sheep Breeders’ Round Table.

Delegates at the conference, which takes place on 17-19 November in Nottingham, will be the first to access results from the UK’s first commercial progeny test, together with a summary of the two-year project and its achievements. The aim RamCompare is to drive genetic improvement forward through the inclusion of commercial data in genetic evaluations.

The Round Table, organised by AHDB Beef & Lamb, AgriSearch, the National Sheep Association (NSA), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), is open to anyone with an interest in sheep production and attracts a varied audience of farmers, breeders, researchers and vets.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘thinking positively’. The three-day event will focus on understanding how the rate of genetic gain in the industry can be increased and how using commercial data and genomics could have a positive impact. Attendees will be encouraged to draw on the experiences of the speakers to take positive action to improve productivity throughout the sector.

The programme will include discussions on how to encourage more people to eat lamb, including a talk from Ed Smith, Research and Development Project Manager at the Texel Sheep Society, and Jo Conington, Livestock Geneticist at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). They will discuss their work with ABP and Morrisons to understand the components of meat quality in lambs and whether these elements can be affected by genetics.

Outcomes of the Animal Welfare Foundation-funded ram longevity project will be presented by Kate Phillips, including recommendations for ram breeders and purchasers. Lesley Stubbings will be talking about the AHDB-funded sheep key performance indicator (KPI) project, which is developing KPIs for commercial sheep production and the role of growth to eight weeks of age on future lamb performance.

Dr Liz Genever, Sheep Breeders’ Round Table Secretary, said: “The conference is a great opportunity for anyone involved in the sheep industry to learn, develop and network. Delegates can use the knowledge gained to make improvements to their business which will lead to a more efficient and productive UK flock.”


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.