Aberdeenshire tup top of the flock in leading UK project

An Aberdeenshire Charollais tup has been named the most valuable breeding sire in the UK as the RamCompare project releases its fourth-year results this week.

The five-year project, part-funded by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) along with other industry partners, demonstrates how commercial producers can use specific estimated breeding values (EBVs) to identify rams with high genetic potential and prove their worth when assessing financial impact.

RamCompare takes nominated performance-recorded rams from various terminal sire breeds and uses them on nine commercial farms in the UK.

In one of the largest trials of its kind, this joint-levy funded project has recorded the performance of 19,000 lambs sired by 211 rams through artificial insemination and natural mating, over four breeding seasons.

The results for 2019 show that once again, a Charollais ram tops the list for Shearforce EBV, a breeding value indicating meat tenderness.

This year, the top sire was Crogham Lambert (11AB00035). The ram was bred by Crogham Charollais and provided to the project by the Ingram family at Logie Durno in Aberdeenshire.

Meatlinc (HRF:09012), bred by George Fell, tops the rankings for Scan Weight EBV (speed of growth).

Meatlinc ranked second for Days to Slaughter EBV, where Hampshire Down (27Z1700622) bred by C.M. Brant and Son, took the top spot.

In terms of overall Carcase Merit Index, the top sire was Grey Peel Lear Jet HMF05019, a Texel bred by Maurice Hardy-Bishop. Top ram for Carcase Conformation EBV was a Blue Texel (08441:24891), bred by Jan Rodenburg.

Within the project, carcases are dissected to assess primal yields at a fixed weight, a Southdown (883:170545) from Rob Beaumont and a SuffTex (UK 0 304652 06765) from Robyn and Nick Hulme, provided the greatest weight of meat in the middle (loin) and haunch sections respectively.

The latest update shows a great spread of rams among the most recent lists of trait leaders.

‘Focus on the right traits – few rams do it all’

Signet breeding manager Sam Boon urges breeders to focus on those traits that deliver the greatest profit to their system, and source recorded rams with the right EBVs to deliver them.

“Few rams can do it all; some will excel for carcase conformation, others for speed of finish, producers should evaluate their system and determine which sires have the potential to make the biggest financial impact.”

Bruce McConachie, head of industry development at Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said: “The results from this project are invaluable to farmers and will ensure that terminal sire ram buyers have confidence that selecting and using the best EBVs will have a positive benefit to their bottom lines.”

The full results can be found on the RamCompare website.