Know How / Sheep / Assessing performance

Understanding your flock’s technical and financial performance is essential to make improvements and understand if your system is performing optimally.

We discuss how and why margins and costs should be calculated to analyse your business economically, on a cost of production, per ewe or per hectare basis.

Learn about the range of productivity metrics to for flock benchmarking and improvement, from scanning and rearing percentages to the cost of tups/kg of lamb sold and difficult figures like calculating mortality and maternal ability.

Case studies

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How organic farmers plan to become more efficient

Edryd and Glenda Davies are making more from marginal mountain ground by mob and rotational grazing to improve grassland so they can operate a low-cost forage-based system and finish lambs…


How share-farming sheep venture is aiming for low-cost system

A large-scale sheep enterprise has identified key performance indicators (KPIs) it can improve to lift flock performance and profit. Rhys Williams is a partner in a sheep production joint venture…


Texel tup breeder works towards forage-only system

A Texel flock on the Llŷn Peninsula is one year into the process of switching its tup-rearing system to one based on forage and performance recording. Dafydd Jones of Cefn Caer…


How a farmer is improving growth and conformation of sheep

The Cernyw flock of performance-recorded Bluefaced Leicesters is lifting Mule sale weights for its ram buyers by placing a strong emphasis on performance recording and ramping up its ram genetic…


How a Welsh hill flock improved market returns and cut costs

Making sweeping changes to management systems on a hard hill farm was out of the question for the Jones family when considering how to add value to their flock. Instead…


How sheep farmer finishes and sells lambs in five months

March-born lambs reared on a dense clover ley at Duncan Nelless’ 566ha mixed organic farm achieve liveweight gains of 400g/day and the whole crop is sold within five months. Thistleyhaugh…

Practical advice

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Video: Guide to selecting lambs for slaughter

Getting the best price for your finished lambs is not just about deciding whether to sell liveweight or deadweight, but about sending lambs that are in the right condition. For…


Advice on selecting flock replacements

Ewe productivity is linked directly to flock profitability so selecting replacements is crucial to future performance. Foot and udder health, the condition of teeth and mouth and overall body condition…


Guide to feed planning and forage for finishing lambs

Too many sheep farms fail to produce a plan for finishing lambs, missing opportunities to maximise returns for the current crop and jeopardising ewe condition ahead of the next, says…


9 tips for minimising lamb production costs

As margins get squeezed, keeping a lid of lamb production costs is key to allow for profits to be made. Below, AHDB knowledge transfer senior manager Katie Thorley and Farming…


Advice on calculating your lamb production costs

Cost control in lamb production is key to making a profit in a sector where seasonal supply fluctuations can cut market prices and squeeze margins. Even when businesses are geared…


Northumberland brothers' cost overhaul helps sheep profits

Moving to forage-only finishing and outdoor lambing has ensured a commercial sheep flock remains a key feature of an expanding mixed farm business.  After 10 years of intensifying grazing regimes,…


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4 sheep recording methods compared: which one is best?

Carmarthenshire sheep farmer and Aberystwyth University graduate Huw Williams completed a HCC scholarship in 2015 looking at how extensive systems in New Zealand and Australia were recording parentage. Talking about…


Research shows value of monitoring ewe body condition

New research has shown just how valuable it is to record and monitor body condition in commercial ewe flocks and keep it consistent year-round.   Independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings…