We continue to run a weekly evaluation each weekend. This practice ensures that breeders and commercial farmers have the most up to date genetic evaluations available to them at any given time. There are of course some practical disadvantages to updating the genetic evaluations on such a regular basis, the main one being the risk of individual animals €uroStar evaluations changing from one week to the other. When allocating the €uroStar rating to an individual animal Sheep Ireland must set thresholds within each Index to determine the number of €uroStars an animal should receive. For animals which are very close to these different €uroStar thresholds it is possible that small amounts of data can move these animals above or below the relevant threshold in any given week – resulting in the €uroStars for that animal changing. This can be very frustrating for breeders when the €uroStar evaluations drop, but similarly it can pleasing when a rams genetic evaluation improves.
The €uroStar ram task (Task 1) forms one of nine farm tasks within the 2015 STAP. Farmers must complete two tasks from the menu of nine throughout the year in order to qualify for payment at the end of the year. The €uroStar ram task is the only task within the programme that has a value of two tasks which has made the task a very attractive one for farmers participating in the programme. This should bode well for the many upcoming pedigree ram sales taking place over the coming weeks and months.
Sheep Ireland ram search
We would like to remind breeders and farmers that the Sheep Ireland ram search is back in operation and can be used to search for €uroStar rams. The online ram search provides people with quick and easy access to the €uroStar evaluations for performance recorded rams. Breeders are reminded to provide their ram customers with an up to date print out of the €uroStars for the relevant ram, the ram search is a great place to print this information.
Each week we continue to promote the €uroStar evaluations around the country. This week we presented to STAP farmers on the farm of John Landers in Killeagh, Co.Cork. We also presented to over 500 farmers at an excellent event organised by STAP facilitator Brian Dolan in Stranorlar Mart, Co. Donegal. Last Friday evening we were invited to Antrim by Campbell Tweed to present to a group of farmers visiting his farm. Campbell is doing a huge amount of performance recording across his very large flock of Easicare ewes and is making significant progress using genetic indices to select breeding stock annually.