THE SSBA’S Council is delighted to announce that two Shropshire rams will take part in the next phase of RamCompare, one of the UK’s most important breeding projects.
With support from across the food chain, RamCompare is a nationwide trial involving all the main terminal sire breeds of sheep. It has enlisted a number of very well-run commercial sheep farms to compare the performance of high genetic merit rams from different breeds.
The Shropshire tups will be used on a farm in Cornwall, running a flock North Country Mules. Cross-bred lambs will be monitored from the 2020 crop.
“One of our long-term objectives for the breed has been to promote the Shropshire as a crossing sire and see our rams recognised again as excellent producers of lambs for the meat market,” comments Pippa Geddes the Shropshire Breed Improvement Scheme Coordinator.
“The opportunity to participate in RamCompare is only open to our breed because we have flocks enrolled on Signet’s Performance Recording Scheme.
“We look forward to seeing how the Shropshires compare with Charollais, Hampshire, Meatlinc, Suffolk and Texel rams used in the same flock. Hopefully RamCompare will be another important stepping stone towards re-establishing the Shropshire as a terminal sire.”
The two rams selected for the RamCompare trial are 2-shear Hayne Oak 1343LX17 and Ushers Alexander (pictured as a 5-shear ram). Both are ranked in the top 25% of the breed for Terminal Sire Index. 1343LX17 was bred by Liz Bowles and Mike Bray and will be used as a natural service sire in the trial. He is by Hayne Oak Nelson, a ram that has topped the rankings for Terminal Sire Index in recent years. Ushers Alexander, by Westwood Challenger, was bred by Marion and Aubrey Webb. Ewes on the trial will be bred to him by Artificial Insemination. Alexander has been one of the leading sires on the Breed Improvement Scheme since 2014, scoring highly for Terminal Sire Index and Maternal Index.