BETTER communication in the lamb supply chain can help producers
make better breeding decisions, increase the proportion of lambs
meeting market requirements and improve flock profitability.
These are the findings of a two-year DEFRA-funded project, supported
by the Meat and Livestock Commission, the Suffolk, Texel and Charollais
Sheep Societies, Rose County Foods Ltd and J S Sainsbury Plc.
Farm trials have shown the use of recorded rams with superior
breeding potential can increase the profitability of commercial
flocks by as much as £3 per lamb.
To achieve this, producers must understand their own breeding
goal to select the right ram for their system using Estimated Breeding
Values (EBVs). This process can be greatly enhanced by analysing
the data returned to them by their abattoir.
By evaluating carcase data, producers can make immediate adjustments
to management and long-term decisions with regard to breeding that
will yield greater financial returns, as well as improving the
quality of lamb presented to the consumer.
This process can be made easier if processors make changes to
the way carcase data is reported back to producers - even simple
changes can considerably improve their value as a flock management
tool. These include identification of carcase data for individual
animals, electronic copies of results, reports on batch variation
and reports ranking flock performance against other producers.
Samuel Boon from MLC's Signet Breeding Services, said: "The
project has demonstrated that UK sheep breeding programmes are
generating breeding stock whose offspring meet the needs of commercial
sheep producers and the wider lamb supply chain."
Stan Ayrton, Procurement Manager at Rose County Foods Ltd, said: "The
value of using recorded sires has been a revelation. I admit to
being sceptical about this at the start of the trial, along with
one or two of the farmers that were trialling the tups, but like
them I believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating and producers
should take the opportunity of buying recorded rams wherever they
For further details contact Samuel Boon, MLC's Signet Breeding
Services on 01908 844207 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.
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