9 June 1995

Results vary in Ile de France ram lamb trial

By Rebecca Austin

RESULTS of the second Ile de France ram lamb trial at Pencoed College, Bridgend, Mid-Glamorgan, have been announced by Signet.

The breed, reputed to be the most popular terminal sire in France, is best known for its ability to lamb out of season. Ewes can achieve at least 175% productivity year round. A first cross will go to the ram early – without the use of sponges or hormones – to lamb from early December.

The 16 ram lambs provided by breeders from Cornwall, Somerset, Shropshire, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire and Co Durham showed markedly varied performance results.

The trial identified the best lamb with reference to growth rate, muscling and fat cover. It was bred by Richard Spry, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, and achieved the highest index score of 100 points (see table). It is by the same ram which sired last years trials best lamb.

But, when compared on conformation with the three other rams whose performance is recorded in the table, it was John Freemans 89-point ram which came out on top. All three lambs sent from Mr Freemans farm, Wiveliscombe, Somerset, were sired by the same imported ram.

All the trial lambs were weaned on the farms on Mar 10. A week later, once settled at Pencoed, they were weighed at an average of 30.5kg. The second weighing on Apr 11 recorded an average of 38.63kg, showing a 0.3kg/day weight gain for the group. This daily liveweight gain increased to 0.35kg/day by the third weighing on May 5, when the group averaged 47.59kg. The final weights, recorded on May 24, ranged from 42kg to 63kg, to average at 54.25kg. Weight gain was 0.35kg/day.

"Breeders should view the superior sires for back fat, muscle score and weight gain as identified by this trial as the right direction for the breed to move in," said Signets David Evans. "But dont just look at the figures, put them together with each lambs looks."


Performance results of top four rams in Ile de France trial at Pencoed

Date of birthStart wtEnd wtGainFatMuscleScore(kg)(kg)(kg)(kg/day)(mm)(pts)

14/01/9534600.383.231.2100

30/12/9529570.412.730.089

21/12/9532560.352.230.486

23/12/9527510.352.331.583

Trial ave 9530.5054.250.353.130.6

9425.3048.700.353.831.0

Source: Signet

Top four rams in the Ile de France trial at Pencoed (left to right): Christine Thompson (breed secretary), with one of John Freemans lambs, Richard Spry, John Freeman (best lamb) and Andrew Kingdom.