TECHNOLOGY THE WAY FORWARD!; Benefits to the Sheep Industry from Pedigree Breeders Adoption Sire Referencing

Article excerpt

THE sheep industry must invest in new technology to meet the challenges of the twenty first century.

The technology must deliver quick growing, well-fleshed lambs of good conformation, and all at lower production costs.

The Signet Sheepbreeder Service aims to fulfil all of these requirements.

This service collects both the pedigree and performance details for all lambs in recorded flocks, both of which are of equal importance.

The pedigree information is necessary to determine genetic relationships between lambs within the flock or, in the case of sire referencing, between flocks.

These genetic links allow the different management regimes between groups of lambs to be accounted for.

This allows January-born ram lambs which are offered concentrates to boost their growth for the local shows to be directly compared with March-born ewe lambs retained on grass only, as lambs from the same sire are in both groups.

This sire acts as a link between the different groups of lambs within a flock. Similar relationships between flocks form the basis of Sire Referencing.

The lambs produced from participating members of a Sire Referencing Scheme such as Progressive Texel Sires (PTS) can be directly compared because of the use of a reference ram.

In 1999, the reference ram used by PTS was RAMS Flashman, bred by students at Greenmount College.

As he produced sons and daughters in all the members' flocks this spring, the flocks are genetically linked and this will be used to remove the management differences between the flocks. …