A series of free workshops focused on showing sheep producers how to reap the considerable financial rewards of using tups with performance records will be run by the Scottish Sheep Strategy Group in the coming weeks.
The Estimated Breeding Value workshops will take place throughout Scotland in August and early September, as part of the programme of Scottish Sheep Strategy activity supported by Quality Meat Scotland.
The priority of the workshops is to encourage producers to understand how using figures can help the bottom line of their businesses. The potential financial benefit was brought sharply into focus by the results of phase one of the Scottish Sheep Strategy's “Better Breeding Project” more commonly known as the focus farm trials. The results showed that over four years on six farms a financial advantage of £5 per ewe tupped per year is achievable with no extra inputs.
Rod McKenzie, the Scottish Sheep Strategy's Development Manager, said the rationale behind the workshops is crystal clear. “Each year more and more people are showing genuine interest in sourcing recorded tups but in some cases they want to know a little more about what goes on in the collection of the data and the calculation of each EBV.
“This proves to be of great assistance in identifying certain traits which will help their flock achieve its potential. As well as improving the understanding of the potential purchaser of recorded rams, these workshops also help producers explain to their customers the strengths of each individual ram in their consignment.”
The Scottish Sheep Strategy’s purpose is to increase the understanding of, and subsequent uptake of, breeding technologies in Scottish sheep production.
Maimie Paterson, chairman of the Scottish Sheep Strategy, said: “Although sheep producers have seen an improvement in the prices they are receiving over the last couple of years it is important to recognise that costs of production are advancing at a steady, and somewhat alarming, rate.
“It is important to ensure Scottish producers get every opportunity to share in the knowledge and understanding they need to enable them to make more commercial decisions when buying their tups.”
The workshops, each starting at 7.30pm, will kick-off on Tuesday 7th August at Milton of Durris, near Banchory AB31 6BR by kind permission of Rodney Blackhall.
Further workshops will be held on Tuesday 21st August at Conon Brae Farms, Conon Bridge, IV7 8DN by kind permission of Ewan MacDonald; on Tuesday 4th September at Greenside, Uplawmoor, G78 4BA by kind permission of Laine Daff and finally on Tuesday 11th September, at Spotsmains, Kelso, TD5 7RT by kind permission of John Mauchlen. The Scottish Sheep Strategy will also have the stand at the Cydectin Kelso Ram Sale on 14th September should anyone be in need of assistance with EBVs whilst choosing their tup(s).
For more information, please contact either Rod Mckenzie on 07889 963907 or e-mail email@example.com or Kathy Peebles at QMS on 0131 472 4040 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively visit the Sheep Strategy web site at www.scottishsheepstrategy.org.uk