Better breeding means bigger returns says research

A better breeding project in Scotland has revealed that a higher return of more than £20 per ewe can be achieved.

The Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) funded Scottish Sheep Strategy project, ‘Benefits of Better Breeding in the Scottish Sheep Sector’ has said to have demonstrated once that sheep producers can achieve greater margins by using a High Index recorded sire.

Maimie Paterson, Scottish Sheep Strategy chair, said: “Results from the first two years of the Scottish Sheep Strategy’s Focus Farms have shown conclusively that on every sheep enterprise there are ewes, or even families of ewes which consistently under perform compared with their flock mates.

“We all know that it costs the same to keep a bad ewe as it does to keep a good one, so costs could be trimmed still further by identifying the underperformers and replacing them with more productive sheep.”

The Hazelbank trial near Lockerbie with purebred Lleyns has said to have shown that High Index sired lambs have left gross sales worth £20.49 per ewe more than returns from Low Index sired lambs.

Results from Westerhall near Dollar, one of the Scottish Blackface Focus farms, has also said to have backed up these findings, also showing that returns from High Index sired lambs were worth an additional £17.93 per ewe with the 2008 lamb crop.

The work is part of the five year Better Breeding project, a flagship initiative of the QMS funded Scottish Sheep Strategy.