This week we circulated letters to any 2015 LambPlus breeders yet to be visited for the purposes of OVIGEN. The opportunity for LambPlus ram breeders to get each adult animal in their flock DNA sampled and genotyped free of charge is unlikely to ever present itself again. We have now reached the budgeted number of DNA samples for the majority of breeds involved in the project. The budget available to carry out this work is now shrinking rapidly and remaining flocks will be included on a first come, first served basis only. Texel, Suffolk, Charollais, Belclare and Vendeen LambPlus breeders that have not yet got involved in OVIGEN should contact Sheep Ireland immediately and arrange a flock visit. Call 1850 601 901 and Shane will organise a suitable date for the visit.
Inclusion of the Beltex Breed in OVIGEN
As predicted the Beltex breed can now be included in OVIGEN based on the breeds extremely close genetic relationship with the Texel breed. Although the Beltex breed in Ireland does not have the adequate level of performance data recorded to benefit from genomics, the breed can ‘piggy-back’ on the large volume of data recorded by the Texel Sheep Breed over the years. This relationship will be beneficial for both breeds. Useful genomic evaluations can only be generated on the basis of large volumes of good quality performance data. The more breeders and animals performance recorded the more progress that everyone can make. Beltex breeders that were involved in LambPlus in 2015 have been contacted this week and encouraged to arrange an OVIGEN flock visit as soon as possible.
Our redesigned Sheep Ireland webscreens are now entering their second year of use. The launch of the new data recording screens was very warmly welcomed by LambPlus breeders last year. The user-friendly nature of the screens is their main attribute. The number of phone calls we receive from breeders looking for direction on how to use these new screens are minimal, which is great for both breeders and Sheep Ireland.
We are continually tweaking the screens to improve their performance. Many of these improvements are made on the basis of feedback from breeders and Breed Societies and we always encourage breeders to give us feedback. This week a number of changes were implemented on the ‘Lambing Management’ screen. Breeders will notice these subtle but important changes as they record their lambing data in the coming weeks. There are a host of other additions coming on stream for our webscreens soon, which breeders will find extremely useful. This Weekly Update will be used to inform breeders of these additions as they are released.