The RamCompare project has released final results for the first stage of the initiative which spanned the 2015-2016 breeding seasons.
The project, part-funded by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) along with other industry partners, aims to assist the UK sheep industry to drive genetic improvement. Phase one started in May 2015 and ran over two breeding seasons until November 2017.
Since preliminary results were released in November 2017, the full data set has now been revised and updated to include records from later-lambing flocks and take account of hybrid vigour. This has led to some re-ranking of rams based on their carcase weight EBV (Estimated Breeding Value).
Logiedurno Navigator 13ZNN07239, nominated by the Crogham and Coldharbour Charollais flocks, is the Charollais breed’s new leading sire.
Bred by the Ingram family at Logie Durno in Aberdeenshire, he ranks highly for his carcase weight EBV and overall carcase value, which takes into account the weight, confirmation and fat class of his lambs.
Carole Ingram said: “We’re delighted that our rams are part of this project and have been tested under commercial conditions against other top performing terminal sires.
“Our focus has always been on breeding tups with excellent commercial qualities and these results fully endorse that.”
Moving into top position for carcase weight EBV and overall carcase merit is Penygelli, PAP1501802, a Texel ram bred by Alwyn Philips from Wales.
Also performing highly for carcase value is another Scottish bred sire, also a Texel, Roxburgh Shot Gun Willie EJR1101108 bred by John Elliot from Roxburgh Mains near Kelso.
Amongst the Suffolk rams tested, Whichford First Class bred by Bruce Cook has now joined the list of the highest ranked Suffolk rams for carcase weight EBV.
Emily Grant, QMS Knowledge Transfer Specialist said: “It’s fantastic that Scottish-bred performance recorded rams are performing well when tested on commercial farms across the UK.
“These results will ensure that terminal sire ram buyers have confidence that selecting and using the best EBVs will have a positive benefit to their business’.
Bridget Lloyd, RamCompare Project Coordinator, said: “With all rams from the first two breeding seasons now included, the final results tables show a slight repositioning. This will continue to happen each year as more rams are included in the trial and data collected on farm and through the abattoirs.”
As RamCompare enters its fourth mating season, the project continues to release semen from some of the tested breeding lines to pedigree breeders.
Ms Lloyd added: “Many ram breeders are following the project closely and access to this semen provides them with the opportunity to compare the genetic merit of their flock to those rams used on the project, as well as trying new breeding lines.
“This year, several new Suffolk rams have been put forward due to the generosity of the BRIDFA Suffolk breeding group and one of these will have a special role within the project as a reference ram.”
Semen from Drinkstone Distinction (Y68:A20) will be used on all eight RamCompare farms, with his lambs creating a reference between each farm to enable comparisons to be made between them.
Distinction was born in 2002 and is still a sire of importance with an index in the top five per cent of the Suffolk breed. This ram would be a good choice for anyone wanting to see how their rams compare to RamCompare sires.
More information on the rams on offer and the updated results can be found on the RamCompare website