Two sheep wearing Signet gold and silver labels© Signet breeding services, AHDB

Gold and silver identifiers are now available to put on top-performing rams for sales this summer.

A gold identifier worn around the neck of a ram, will indicate the animal is in the top 10% of the breed, based on index, while silver will represent the top 25%.

These identifiers have been developed as part of the “Seek out the standard” campaign, run by Signet Breeding Services, which encourages buyers to seek, check and review to ensure they purchase rams with high genetic merit.

See also: Four new EBVs for terminal sheep to be launched

The financial benefits of buying rams with such genetics are clear. A high-index ram can increase profitability by £3-£4 a lamb, which equates to about £1,000 over a ram’s lifetime, according to AHDB Beef & Lamb.

Emma Steele, Signet breeding specialist adviser, said helping ram buyers to spot superior genetics at a glance will lead to increased productivity for pedigree and commercial breeders.

“Once breeders have identified rams with top genetics, they should check the ear tag identity of the animal and review its EBVs with the breeder, using the sale chart or online at www.basco.org.”

The identifiers will be debuted at the Charollais premier sale in Worcester and the Hampshire Down premier sale in Stratford, both on 1 July. They will then be distributed to Signet clients in early July for use over the summer.

Signet labels

What the identifiers will look like © Signet breeding services, AHDB