Our particular interest is in producing the highest quality breeding stock of three terminal sire breeds and two maternal breeds which must be ‘Fit for Purpose’ ie, fitter, fertile and more active rams which live longer with improved natural resistance to worms and grow faster with excellent carcasses.
Currently one of our ewelambs (UK 0 3639455 09547) is the top sheep ever in the Suffolk evaluation, and in the 2019-born lambs there are currently 12 animals with indexes of over 400, of which seven were bred in our flock. We have bred the top 3 Stock Sires in the Suffolk evaluation, and within the Texel breed, one of our home bred ram lambs (UK 0 3639455 09464) is one of the highest indexed stock rams in the breed.
We have now supplied 6 rams into the project, and this helps to underpin the accuracy of the BLUP evaluation of our rams. We were thrilled when our ram held the top overall ranking position in the first run of the Ram Compare Project and four years later is still near the top of the list. This year you will see all our Texels, bar two, have Terminal Sire indexes in the Top 5% for breed. Again, the Suffolks are almost all in the Top 5%, four in the Top 10% and just three outside the top 10%.
Our flock is managed under commercial conditions and our stock are not fed for show ring , our philosophy of breeding for ‘Genetics, not Cosmetics’ means we produce the most successful long term sustainable improvements in profitability. It is the genetics of breeding stock and their general health, fertility and potency which design ‘Fitness for Purpose’. We rear all our lambs entirely on grass which means that all their own performance records are measured against their ability to grow whilst sucking a ewe, fed solely on grass, and then after weaning their own ability to grow on grass without any supplementation with creep etc. Over feeding can ultimately adversely affect all of these factors.
Our Rams and Breeding Ewes must be well above average for growth rate and carcass traits, and maternal traits but equally importantly, they must be able to survive, thrive and perform on grass with only minimal strategic cereal supplementation. I believe that the levels of cereal supplementation required to produce rams which will compete in the show ring or the major ram sales are not only detrimental to the ram’s future health and fertility but also tend to select for the wrong attributes. Since our business relies on the success of yours, we appreciate how vital it is to turn a ram cost into a ram profit.
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