14 June 1996

Sire reference scheme urged

HILL breed improvement is top of MLC plans for sheep development work since at least a third of genetic material in slaughtered lambs originates from such sheep.

MLC sheep strategy manager Stewart Hall urged Swaledale producers at North Sheep to form a sire reference scheme to accelerate genetic improvement. The aim is to improve carcass conformation without compromising the breeds inherent hardiness and mothering ability.

With most of these producers farming in what Europe terms unfavoured areas, the sire reference scheme would be eligible for EU funding through objective 5B. Mr Hall was seeking six flocks to start the scheme that were recording through Signets Sheepbreeder service.