24 May 2002

Take note of research

SCIENTISTS efforts to improve lamb carcasses are commendable, but it is vital for the meat trade to reward them, says Northumberland sheep breeder Hans Porksen.

He believes classification is too subjective.

"Figures published by the MLC were meaningless and abattoirs unwillingness to link grades to individual lamb ear-tag numbers made the information of limited use anyway."

Despite the need for an objective measure of saleable meat on which producers could be paid, breeders had come a long way from the time when they bred candle factories on four legs, he said.

Within his own flock of Suffolks, Scottish Black Faces and Mules, he based selection on estimated breeding values and scrapie genotyping results. But many of the buyers who paid good prices for his high index rams still had little interest in their figures.

But Mr Porksen did and he valued the research and monitoring that provided the information and technology he needed for flock improvement. He insisted that MLC should spend less levy payers money on advertising and more on technical development work. &#42