2015-08-24   facebooktwitterrss

Hampshire Down Genetic Progress Improves Returns

Tapping in to Hampshire Down genetic progress will help commercial producers to improve lamb performance and in turn their flock returns in one simple single decision.

“The average Hampshire Down lamb now has the breeding potential to be almost 1.8kg heavier at scanning time than those born five years ago,” says Signet’s Sam Boon. “Added to this, a lamb born in 2015 and within the breed’s top 10% on performance data has the breeding potential to be another 2.6kg heavier than an average one at scanning time.

hampshire Down

“This is a massive difference at farm level where top 10% sires could increase Hampshire Down sired lamb sold deadweight off the farm by approximately half a tonne for an average flock of 500 ewes. The retailer will also benefit from carcases with high yields of lean meat. Additionally, it means that these lambs are more efficient; they will reach target weight earlier thereby freeing up more grass dry matter for the rest of the flock, hitting an earlier market and reducing inputs, including labour and vet and med.

“Since Hampshire Down pedigrees are held on BASCO, then all animals in the population, whether recorded or not, are drawn into the analyses which demonstrate the overall genetic gain in the breed, and how breeders who are really chasing recording are leaps and bounds ahead.”

He adds: “To make even further genetic progress, Hampshire Down breeders have agreed to join forces with the other four major terminal breeds in AHDB Beef and Lamb’s pioneering progeny test, the RamCompare project. Their commercial lamb performance data is scheduled to be captured and included in future terminal sire genetic evaluations.”

Breed association’s Richard Davis adds: “These gains are impressive and reflect members’ genuine commitment to becoming actively involved in performance recording. In fact almost 70% of lamb registrations are by Signet SRS rams.

“Furthermore, higher volumes of performance recorded lambs will increase the accuracy of the evaluations and in turn, enable even faster rates of improvement within the breed which we’ve agreed to challenge in what must be the industry’s ultimate performance test – the RamCompare project. At the same time, breeders are also making sure they retain the Hampshire Down’s native characteristics, its hardiness, longevity and its ability to leave lively lambs.”

Hampshire Down

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