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Stackyard News Dec 06

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Breed a better pedigree flock

Performance recording to achieve better returns from sheep breeding enterprises is the theme of a new manual, available free to all English producers, from the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).

Breed a better pedigree flock
Produced by EBLEX Sheep Better Returns and MLC’s Signet Breeding Services, the illustrated Breed a better pedigree flock manual explains why sheep breeders should record their flocks and covers how to plan a breeding strategy and the use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) as measures of breeding potential for specific traits.

Both pedigree sheep breeders and commercial producers benefit from performance recording of breeding flocks. Pedigree breeders selling rams with high EBVs regularly achieve sale premiums, and achieve high clearance rates . For commercial producers, Defra-funded trials showed that lambs sired by rams with good EBVs delivered an extra £2.50-£3.00 in returns.

“Interest in recording has rocketed since the start of the EBLEX Sheep Better Returns Programme in 2003,” said Sam Boon of Signet, who worked with EBLEX to produce the new manual. “Commercial demand for recorded rams has increased in what has been generally a difficult year for selling rams. This manual, which is already endorsed by several leading Sheep Breed Societies, provides a valuable starting point for new breeders and will encourage others to begin recording,” he said.

English sheep producers can request their free copies of the Breed a better pedigree flock manual by calling 0870 241 8829 or emailing with their full address details.

The Sheep Better Returns Programme was funded by Defra from the Sheep National Envelope and delivered by EBLEX between 2003 and 2005. EBLEX now funds the ongoing core activities for Sheep Better Returns, which continues to provide practical events and technical information. Additional support from Regional Development Agencies is used to extend the programme of events regionally. .

The technical input for the new manual was provided by MLC Signet Breeding Services with writing and publication funded by EBLEX Better Returns.

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