December 23

22 January 2024

This year we are lambing the Hampshire ewes later, so we can lamb the two flocks on two sites. The rams went into the ewes on the 8th of December, so the first lambs should be due on the 1st of May. We have used a selection of older stock rams, shearling rams, ram lambs and a purchased ram lamb this year (see table below). Once the Hampshire’s have had a cycle in their single sire groups, we will add a Texel ram and remove the Hampshire’s so we know when the rams were changed.

FBN Scan Weight Muscle Depth Fat Depth CT Lean Weight Days To Slaughter Carcase Weight Lamb Value Terminal Sire Index
27Z2300268 8.72 2.21 -0.69 1.64 -2.31 0.1 £1.57 416
27Z2300090 9.47 1.26 0.36 0.76 0.55 0.16 £1.32 362
27Z2300058 8.85 1.87 -0.33 0.82 -1.61 0.35 £2.16 356
27Z2102402 5.63 2.2 -0.45 0.93 -4.99 0.26 £2.37 300
27Z2300016 11.09 -0.28 -0.34 0.17 -4.23 0.39 £2.80 296
27Z2202521 7.08 1.2 -0.21 0.67 -0.32 -0.03 £1.00 296
27Z2300064 5.97 2.46 -0.24 0.46 -0.56 0.23 £1.72 283
27Z2102301 2.75 1.72 -0.02 1.25 2.2 0.19 £1.10 281
C472300991 6.42 0.75 0.19 0.26 N/A N/A N/A 255

Hampshire Breed Benchmark 

In the above table we have listed the rams we have used this year (data from, with the 2024 breed benchmark highlighted). Some of the ram lambs have lower accuracy figures, especially in the carcase traits. Once lambs from the lambs from the rams have been slaughtered, it should increase the accuracy of these Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) as we will have accurate measurements. When selecting our ram team, we try and use rams some that have been used in previous sea sons to give us linkage and so we pick our favourites from past years. The table shows a few of the many EBVs available. These traits are what we find most important in the terminals. When selecting rams lambs, we will pick a few extreme performers in individual traits, and those that are good all-rounders, the aim is to balance the team to drive progress in all the traits. The carcase traits, uses information from RamCompare and slaughter data from our own lambs, in the long term we hope to move towards this for selection. For some rams, which haven’t had many close relations with data, we still need to use the other EBVs to help our selection.

The Lleyns have were given a cycle single sired, then were mixed together,  mob mated with Hampshire rams added. The aim is to only select breeding animals from the first cycle and using the Hampshire with the Lleyns, should ‘colour mark’ the lambs to show when the cross over is. We do also raddle up the rams in order to spot the change, but the colours never seem to show up very well when tupping on fodder beet.

The rams came out from the Lleyn ewes and ewe lambs just before Christmas, so it is now time for the anxious wait until scanning to see how the rams have performed and the management of the flock has gone. The performance of the flock is now locked in and we will soon see what we have got to work with.

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