A Charollais ram© Tim Scrivener

The UK’s first national ram progeny test is entering its second phase after adding four farms and Beltex, Blue Texel, Blue de Maine and Polled Dorset rams.

RamCompare’s second phase will span three breeding seasons of 60 sires, with recording efforts across more dam breeds and geographical locations.

See also: More sheep farms sought for second phase of RamCompare project

Phase two adds to the five breeds already used (Texel, Suffolk, Charollais, Meatlinc and Hampshire Down) and will use AI sire Kimbolton Voyager across all flocks as a reference sire.

Additional farms will monitor progeny in North Yorkshire, Cornwall, Bridgend and at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute at Hillsborough, Northern Ireland.

Four farms near Selkirk, Morpeth, Alton and Micheldean are already in the project.

Breeding plans

This tupping season will see 33 natural service tups and 27 artificial insemination tups.

Samuel Boon, AHDB animal breeding senior manager, said: “The new farms and rams recruited for phase two mean we can test a wider range of breeds, which will help us drive genetic improvement further.

“As with phase one, data will be collected from tupping through to slaughter, which means all aspects of the supply chain will be incorporated into the breeding evaluations, helping commercial breeders pick the right rams to produce more lambs that hit target specification.”

Revealing results

  • Phase one’s 70 ram results will be discussed at the Sheep Breeders’ Round Table (SBRT), to be held near Nottingham on 17 November.
  • More information is available at the SBRT website.
  • The results will also be made available on the RamCompare website on 17 November.