LambPlus Membership 2017
- The number of breeders that have signed up for the upcoming performance recording season has grown yet again which is hugely encouraging. All breeds involved with us have seen an increase in participating breeders which bodes well for the future genetic evaluations of each respective breed. At present we have just over 650 breeders signed up, but an absolute final number for each individual breed is not yet possible as we are working to resolve a small number of queries with a small number of sign-up forms. An initial list of breeders is now available online, and this will be updated once the aforementioned queries are resolved.
- The number of breeders joining LambPlus has increased year on year since the programme’s first year of operation in 2009. We would like to thank all sheep breed societies for their continued support and their efforts to encourage breeders to participate in performance recording. Sheep Ireland will continue to work with all stakeholders to encourage more use of these pedigree performance recorded rams
Case Study: Richard Moore, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny; Columbkille Flock
- Richard has been breeding Suffolk sheep all his life, his flock was established in 1958 by his father and Richard has been performance recording his flock through LambPlus since it began in 2009. He is an avid believer that genetic indexes (€uroStars) can help to improve his flock’s performance, and perhaps more critically the performance of his ram’s on commercial farms, helping to put more money in the pockets of these farmers.
- In this case study we take a look at the pregnancy scanning results for Richards early lambing ewes. There are 53 scans including some empty ewes. These empty ewes will be scanned again in January.
- In the first graph below we take a look at the effect of the ewes Replacement Star rating on the number of embryos scanned per ewe. The 1 Star ewes were scanned with an average of one lamb per ewe, 5 Star ewes scanned with an average of two lambs per ewe that’s an extra lamb per ewe!!.
- In the second graph above we take a look at what the average Replacement Star rating for the ewes that scanned Empty or with Single, Twin or Triplet lambs respectively. Ewes that scanned empty had an average Replacement Star rating of 2.6 stars whereas the ewes that scanned with Triplets had an average Replacement Star rating of 3.9 stars.
- So in this flock the Replacement index is helping to identify the ewes most likely not to conceive as early as their flock mates and also helping to identify the most prolific/fertile ewes.
- This third graph is very similar to the second graph, except this time instead of using the Replacement Star rating; we use the Replacement Index figure (which is also displayed in catalogues) as a more precise means of separating the data. In this case there is a €0.69 difference in the ewes scanned with empties and the ewes scanned with triplets and the trend is even more convincing.
- The Replacement Index has very accurately predicted the ewes performance at scanning, with empty ewes having an average index of €-0.34 and the triplet bearing ewes having an average index of €0.35
- Richard commented that “The results are so stark; I have always believed that performance recording was the way to go, but to see these results in black and white for my own ewes just supports how solid the system is”.