2 Welsh farms join major research project

Two Welsh farms have joined the third phase of a major agricultural research project designed to help sheep farmers to achieve the best breeding performance from their flocks.

Both farms have an interest in data collection and flock performance recording and, through RamCompare, will investigate which rams have the right genetic merit for their farm systems.

RamCompare is the national progeny test for terminal sire breeds, funded by the levy boards Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), AHDB and QMS; supported by Agrisearch in Northern Ireland and working with partners across the food chain.

Alwyn Nutting farms Glascoed near Newtown with his family. They run a herd of suckler beef and a flock of around 800 Aberfield cross, Highlander cross and Welsh ewes.

He explained: “Our interest in using performance recorded stock began when we selected a bull based on figures some years ago and we now want to achieve the best from our commercial flock.

The project will enable us to trial high genetic merit rams of different breeds which are selected on specific traits which are believed to best suit our system.

“We believe the genetic potential of the sires will be inherited by their lambs and look forward to following their progress through the commercial lamb performance data we will collect on-farm.”

Stephen and Louise Abberley and their family run a sheep farm in Brecon which includes pedigree Texel and Blue Faced Leicester performance-recorded flocks.

Stephen explained: “I applied to be part of RamCompare as I was interested in comparing different breeds to see how breeding traits could perform differently within our current system.

I am open-minded and I look forward to seeing how rams with high index figures will benefit our commercial lamb enterprise.”

HCC research and development officer Nia Davies, who works closely with the RamCompare team, added: “Over five years, RamCompare has seen that key breeding traits can drive productivity and optimise flock profitability.

“Farms who have been part of RamCompare in the past have experienced the benefits that Estimated Breeding Value based ram selection has on their commercial enterprises and we are really looking forward to working with both Alwyn and Stephen on this project.”