The Hill Ram Scheme searches for commercial flocks

Welsh commercial hill flocks have a chance to join the Hill Ram Scheme, which is an innovative sheep genetic improvement scheme that will put performance recorded rams to the test in a commercial setting.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC)’s Hill Ram Scheme, is searching for Welsh commercial flocks to join the project to compare the performance of two rams on a selected group of performance monitored hill ewes.

The expression of interest window for commercial flocks will open on May 3, 2021 and will close on May 21, 2021.

The Hill Ram Scheme is one strand of the Red Meat Development Programme – a five-year Welsh government and European Union-funded initiative aiming to enhance the red meat sector in Wales.

Benefits of the Hill Ram Scheme

One of the project benefits is that farmers will be able to see which of their rams has produced lambs and ewes that perform well on their farm.

From this data, farmers can select the best genetics for their flock in the future. This is as important for commercial hill flocks as those who produce breeding stock for sale.

A target of the scheme is to show the value of measuring performance in Welsh flocks, and the benefits that genetic improvement can have on commercial hill flocks.

Sean Jeffreys, HCC programme officer who works on the Hill Ram Scheme explained:

“The commercial performance flocks will need to select 100 ewes that they consider to be the best for the sheep system.

This group will then be split evenly into two groups, with one group mated with a performance recorded ram, and the second with an unrecorded stock ram. It is crucial that post mating, the groups are managed as one, to ensure reliable comparison.

“The flocks will receive support from the team at relevant times and will receive training and workshops to assist with the work and activity required from farmers.”

More information on what being a commercial performance flock on the Hill Ram Scheme entails, and access to the expression of interest form can be found here.