The results of the first UK trials comparing the performance of
pure New Zealand and UK terminal sires when used on a lowland flock
will be revealed at an open day on Tuesday, April 29.
The open day emphasises the importance of easicare systems and
reduction in labour inputs for today’s commercial sheep
The independent trials, which started last September are being
run by the Institute of Rural Science (IRS Aberystwyth University)
at Morfa Mawr Farm, Llanon, and involve 500 Welsh Mule ewes that
have been mated to pure New Zealand, traditional UK and high index
UK Suffolk sires.
During the trials a full economic analysis of the different sire
groups is being carried out - initially including benchmarking
lambing ease, lamb vigour and survivability, and birth weights.
Management traits will also be captured including footrot incidence,
faecal worm count and dagginess; together with growth measurements
at eight weeks, weaning and slaughter. Finally a detailed analysis
of carcase weights, grades etc will be analysed so that the full
economic affects of using the different types of rams will be fully
Jointly funded by Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales, Innovis
and the Suffolk Sheep Society, the open day will release the first
Dr Janet Roden, of the IRS explains: “The ewes were AI’d
to ensure compact lambing and have then been run randomly as mixed
mobs. We lambed in early February and ewes and lambs were turned
out within 24 hours of birth. Detailed measurements were taken
including lambing assistance required, lambs speed to suckle, birth
weights and mortality.
“At the open day we will have the first set of data relating
to important functional traits within the lambs’ first 12
weeks of life which relate to today’s drive for easicare
and minimising labour inputs. Visitors will also be able to see
lamb growth and conformation at 12 weeks. Further data will be
collected and results will be published throughout the summer.”
Stephen Cobbald, chairman of the Suffolk Sheep Society said: “The
Suffolk Society recognises that our customers need to be able to
run profitable businesses when the sheep industry is facing many
challenges from both increasing costs and disease pressures. This
trial will provide much useful information to all commercial sheep
farmers when they are considering the future direction for their
The open day commences at 1.30pm at Morfa Mawr Farm, Llanon, Ceredigion
SY23 5LY located on the coast road (A487) twelve miles south of
Aberystwyth. More information visit www.suffolksheep.org.
Discussions will focus on :
- A comparison of the performance of NZ Suffolks
na dUK Suffolks in a Welsh lowland environment
- Welcome and introduction
Prof Will Haresign and Charles Harding
- Project overview and lambing
results Dr Janet Roden
- Discussion of other IRS sheep breeding
research including experience with the MyoMax gene.
- To include
a farm walk at Morfa Mawr to see ewes with Suffolk lambs at foot.
Please help to ensure high biosecurity levels by wearing clean
clothes and footwear.
English Lambs Improve in Carcase Quality
Blackface Sheep Breeders Association Spring Show 2008
All Change at Suffolk Sheep Society AGM