Weekly Update: 24/03/17

LambPlus Data Recording

The end of April is the deadline by which pedigree ram breeders must enter their flocks lambing data onto the Sheep Ireland database. Any lambs entered after this date will not receive genetic evaluations in 2017, but will be published in 2018. This week we have circulated a text message reminder to all breeders to get their data recorded on the Sheep Ireland website.

Muscle and Backfat Ultrasound Scanning 2017

We are currently putting plans in place for the upcoming Ultrasound scanning season. There will not be any major changes to this service for 2017. We will however be making a big effort to get all flocks scanned as early as possible in the season in order to have results included in each breeders genetic evaluations, in advance of the ram sale season. This ensures that the best possible information is being made available to commercial sheep farmers purchasing these rams.

First Genetic Evaluation Run

  • A regular test genetic evaluation has been carried out by Sheep Ireland over the past number of months to ensure everything is working well. The only issue which dictates first evaluation publishing date is the amount of lambing data which has yet to be entered onto the database
  • We acknowledge that some breeders are anxious to cull surplus pedigree lambs at this time of year to avail of high Easter lamb prices. One advantage this year is that Easter is falling on 16th April, which is three weeks later than last year. This will afford LambPlus breeders interested in culling lambs, based on genetic evaluations, a little extra time to make their decisions.

Changes to the 2017 €uro-Star Evaluations

  • For the first time in Ireland, health data will be incorporated into the €uro-Star genetic evaluations. This health data will only form a small percentage of the overall Terminal and Replacement Indexes due to the current trait heritability being used and overall economic impact of the traits on an overall basis. This does not mean that health traits are not economically important as they most certainly are, but higher impact traits such as ‘Lamb Survival’ and ‘Number of Lambs Born’ will always have a more prominent role within the €uro-Star indexes.
  • We do not currently have plans to display a ‘Health Index’ on the Sheep Ireland €uro-Star catalogue output. However we may display this as an individual trait on LambPlus breeders online profiles in the future and perhaps on the Sheep Ireland ram search. Initial accuracies will be very low given the amount of health data collected up to this point, but this will increase over time.