The latest data from a UK-wide terminal sire evaluation programme has seen seven breeds top the carcass charts for different traits.
The list includes native and continental genetics and sees a Meatlinc, Texel, Hampshire Down, Southdown, Blue Texel, Charollais and Sufftex reigning supreme.
The results of RamCompare’s fourth year of recording progeny of rams on nine commercial UK farms is the result of a joint levy-funded project overseen by Signet.
Top seven sires
- Meatlinc George Fell, Thorganby. Came top for scan weight estimated breeding value (EBV) and second for days to slaughter.
- Hampshire Down CM Brant and Son, Normanby. Top sire for days to slaughter.
- Texel (Grey Peel Lear Jet) Maurice Hardy-Bishop, Jedburgh. Overall top ram for carcass merit index.
- Blue Texel Jan Rodenburg, Llandysul. Top ram for carcass conformation.
- Southdown Rob Beaumonth, Wantage. Greatest weight of meat in the middle of the loin.
- Sufftex Robyn and Nick Hulme, Ellesmere. Greatest weight of meat in the haunch section.
- Charollais Bred by JS Barber, Crogham Charollais, Wymondham, and supplied by William and Carole Ingram, Logie Durno, Inverurie. Topped the shear force list.
Sheep-breeding experts say the range of breeds represented at the top of the table shows the genetic variation and extensive opportunities in UK sheep farming.
RamCompare: The numbers
- 211 rams evaluated through artificial insemination and natural service over four seasons
- 19,000 lambs performance-recorded
- Currently in year four of a five-year project
How RamCompare works
Rams are recorded and benchmarked on scan weight, muscle depth, fat depth, and various carcass traits measured by computerised tomography (CT) scan.
Signet breeding manager Sam Boon said breeders should focus on the traits that deliver the greatest profit to their system and then source recorded rams with the corresponding estimated breeding values.
Mr Boon said: “Few rams can do it all; some will excel for carcass conformation, others for speed of finish. Producers should evaluate their system and determine which sires have the potential to have the biggest financial effect.”