The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is to make new breeding values for abattoir traits an integral of the National Terminal Sire Evaluation.

This will be done through its Signet Breeding Services and will coincide with the release of the latest RamCompare results on May 11, 2023.

The National Terminal Sire Evaluation is a multi-breed genetic analysis and is used by ram breeders and commercial ram buyers to identify sheep with the best genetics for growth and carcase traits.

The inclusion of abattoir records for analysis within the National Terminal Sire Evaluation increases the impact of RamCompare by improving the overall accuracy of data, AHDB said.

The top-performing rams tester has recorded over 38,500 lambs sired by 400 rams using both artifical insemination (AI) and natural mating.

AHDB board member George Fell said: “The inclusion of abattoir data into the industry’s genetic evaluations will take our analyses to a new level of accuracy, providing better predictions of genetic merit for those traits on which commercial producers are paid.

”This is a major step that will increase the value returned to those levy payers investing in performance recorded genetics.”


AHDB breeding specialist Samuel Boon said RamCompare has provided AHDB with seven years’ worth of “robust data” on genetic evaluation, but that it is important to remind producers that it is not the only source of abattoir data available.

”Many farmers already send in additional abattoir data to supplement the analysis, which now includes nearly 4,000 Poll Dorset and Dorset Horn carcase records,” he said.

“Interest in this area is increasing considerably and the RamCompare project demonstrates its value.”

Each year, results from RamCompare’s progeny test are released as an industry webinar and announces the leading sires for carcase weight, conformation and days to slaughter.

RamCompare is a joint-levy funded project supported by AHDB, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS); the project is also supported by Agrisearch in Northern Ireland and works with partners across the food chain.