Know How / Sheep / Breeding and fertility

Good breeding and fertility management in sheep flocks is key to achieving the best lamb crop. Find the latest advice on issues from ram and ewe genetics, ovulation and conception rates, to scanning, condition scoring, breeds, tup management and lambing.

Case studies

See all

SHEEP

How a Lincs sheep farm expanded and diversified income

A progressive approach to flock health, combined with hard work and savvy marketing, has seen a Lincolnshire couple expand their sheep business and income. Chris and Louise Elkington of Gelston,…

SHEEP

How next generation are learning to farm without subsidies

The sheep enterprise at Glynllifon Agricultural College has undergone radical change as it braces itself and its students for the uncertainty that lies ahead post Brexit. Farm manager Rhodri Manod…

SHEEP

How a new entrant built up flock on short-term land tenures

Sheep farming can be a tough enterprise anyway, but if you’re starting with no farm, no assets and limited experience, sheer determination is worth more than anything else. Young farmer…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

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…

SHEEP

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How a Lleyn breeder increased lamb cheque by £5.50 a lamb

Worcestershire farmers Marcus and Kathryn Bullock and their daughter Kate have seen a 2kg lift in scanning weights in the last 10 years and a 10% increase in lambs born…

Practical advice

See all

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

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…

SHEEP

Why cross-bred tups are on the rise

Commercial sheep producers have long seen the benefits of hybrid vigour (heterosis) in cross-bred dam lines but a trend now suggests flockmasters are seeing the benefits cross-bred rams (paternal heterosis).…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Guide to CT scanning and how it can benefit your flock

Computed Tomography (CT) scanning is improving the national sheep flock, allowing breeders to select their best animals to breed from and providing commercial lamb producers with tups that deliver traits…

SHEEP

6 ways to make your teaser rams work for you

Using teasers can be used to bring lambing forward by around a fortnight or dramatically reduce lambing periods to a week to 10 days in length.   The benefits of…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Guide to breeding from ewe lambs

Most UK sheep producers hold ewe lambs for a year to breed as yearlings, but this means losing 12 months of income. Economics are now persuading some to rethink their…

SHEEP

How to get your sheep in tip-top condition pre-tupping

With the tupping season getting closer, it is important both ewes and tups are prepared in advance to prevent disappointing results. Farmers Weekly reports. Farmers are being reminded to carry…

Insights

See all

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Livestock gene editing: Current rules and potential benefits

The potential to make our own legislation after leaving the EU could provide scope for gene editing of livestock to become mainstream in the UK. Gene editing changes a precise…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Sheep AI trial shows frozen semen possibilities

Farmers wishing to improve conception rates by using cervical insemination in combination with frozen semen could learn from a recent Farming Connect study. Cervical AI using fresh semen is not…

LIVESTOCK

CT scanning set to influence terminal and maternal traits

Computerised tomography (CT) scanning has demonstrated its value in sheep carcass improvements and could be used to play a role in lambing ease prediction. A range of measurements such as…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How EBVs can help hill farmers meet lamb market needs

A declining market in light lamb specifications means hill farmers need to adapt to meet new demands. This is according to geneticist Janet Roden from Aberystwyth, who believes genetic improvement…

Is performance recording hill breeds a waste of time?

Major opportunities to boost sheep profit and performance are being missed when sheep breeders shun performance recording, warn leading geneticists. New figures from AHDB Beef and Lamb show genetic gains…

LIVESTOCK

Farmers find key to improving Beulah Speckled Face flocks

Lamb weights at 20 weeks of age in performance-recorded Beulah Speckled Face sheep are increasing by an average of 0.15kg/year, according to a study. The figures were compiled during a…

LIVESTOCK

Combined breed analysis sparks debate in sheep industry

Plans to introduce a combined breed analysis in sheep in a similar manner to the dairy evaluation have been met with some reservation from the UK sheep industry. UK genetic…

LIVESTOCK

Top 5 GB sheep breeds revealed in Eblex survey

Few subjects are as likely to stir up emotion among sheep farmers more than breed choice. Some stick to the breed used by their ancestors while others embrace modern breeds.…

Sheep AI allows sheep farmers to invest in superior rams

There are massive opportunities for commercial sheep flocks to benefit from cervical artificial insemination (AI) and there is still time for farmers to consider trialling it this autumn. One benefit…

Trace element bolus aids sheep embryo productivty

Ensuring the right levels of trace elements before tupping can improve productivity. Farmers Weekly reports on the latest research. Strategic management of key trace elements in breeding ewes has increased…

LIVESTOCK

How New Zealand breeds for smaller ewe size

Should we be looking to breed smaller ewes in the UK to improve efficiency? Jeremy Hunt takes a look at what New Zealand sheep farmers are doing. Bigger may not…

LIVESTOCK

Beltex performance recording trial results in genetic gains

A breed specific performance recording system has resulted in significant genetic gains for one sheep breed. Selection for superior growth without losing shape - that's the aim of the new…