M Exelby Hutts lambs 2019.jpg

Recorded rams pay dividends

Recorded rams pay dividends for organic farm

Soil Association licensee Mark Exelby of Hutts Farm, near Ripon has been involved in the joint levy funded RamCompare project over the past two years.

The project has allowed him to experience the benefit of using performance recorded rams in his commercial flock with evidence gathered on all aspects of animal performance from birth to slaughter. Lambing outdoors in May, Hutts farm has recorded 1,160 lambs over the last two years from 17 rams, using six different breeds.

Using genetic merit rams

The key finding has been that through using high genetic merit rams, output has increased by at least an extra £4/lamb. Different rams generated this benefit in different ways (growth rate, better carcase conformation). All rams used were performance tested with EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values) used to aid ram selection decisions; breeding values that are available to any commercial ram producer.

Mark commented “Over the last two years we have enjoyed being part of the RamCompare project. It has been interesting working alongside other commercial farmers who are part of this project and seeing how the different systems from across the UK have all seen the benefits of using superior performance recorded sires. We have been impressed by the integrity and professionalism of all involved in the RamCompare programme.”

“From Hutts farm we have seen an improvement in carcase conformation and carcase weight, this has been coupled with a reduction in days to slaughter. A triple whammy! We have some fantastic lambs on the ground now and are excited to see how they do this year.”

“RamCompare has proven and continues to prove that EBV’s provide an accurate guide to rams genetic potential and therefore are a valuable and useful tool when buying a sire.” He concludes.

Find out more about Mark’s results, the RamCompare Project and the use of performance recorded rams. Or find out about the project as a whole on www.ramcompare.com

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