What is RamPlus?
The purpose of this programme is to increase genetic linkage between all the recording flocks within each breeding year and to help further increase the rate of genetic gain within the breed. This year is a pilot/trial with only two breeds (Belclare and Texel) involved and with small numbers, if it is a success and something breeders wish to carry on we would hope to continue this it into the future.
What is genetic Linkage?
Genetic linkage is vital to accurate evaluations as this helps to link the data collected in several flocks to be adjusted by the genetic evaluations and then compared together with greater accuracy. Flocks that record lambs to any of the sires used in the RamPlus scheme will have a high genetic linkage for their 2017 lambs. This will therefore have a positive effect on the average accuracy % of the flock and lead to a reduction in the fluctuation of €uroStar ratings going forward. Flocks with a poor genetic linkage essentially only have within flock evaluations which can cause larger fluctuations from year to year. Find more info here.
In association with the Irish Charollais, Suffolk, Belclare and Vendeen Sheep Societies, Sheep Ireland is offering LambPlus breeders the opportunity to use the frozen semen from past CPT rams through the RamPlus programme. The main objective of RamPlus is to give LambPlus breeders the opportunity to ‘link’ their flock to the national performance recording programme. High index past CPT sires have been selected from a panel of potential rams by your breed society representatives. Consequently, in addition to genetic linkage, there is an opportunity to make genetic progress using these high index, high accuracy% sires who have been intensively performance recorded in our commercial CPT flocks.
Sheep Ireland will offer this semen to breeders FREE OF CHARGE. See the details of this year’s RamPlus sires attached below.
Prioritisation of flocks
As there is a limited amount of semen available, Sheep Ireland may need to prioritise some flocks over others based on the following criteria;
- Unlinked flocks will be given the highest priority – By linking more flocks in the genetic evaluation, everyone involved benefits.
- High DQI flocks will be given secondary priority – it is critical that where this semen is used, detailed performance recording is carried out.
Your current linkage status
The current Linkage status of LambPlus flocks is available from your Sheep Ireland online account. Flocks that are not linked will be highlighted as unlinked in sales catalogues, on the ram search and will not be eligible for the LambPlus Sale as previously communicated to you.
Limited semen availability
Due to the limited availability of this valuable frozen CPT semen, Sheep Ireland will need to limit the number of semen doses allocated per breeder. Breeders can choose multiple rams to be used but we will require between 6 & 10 ewes per flock to be inseminated with these sires. In order to create linkage between LambPlus flocks, it is necessary to have at least 3 lambs born and performance recorded, on each participating flock (while obviously we would hope for a successful AI across all flocks, there will inevitably be variation in the conception rates, which will impact on lamb numbers).
Additional criteria for establishing genetic linkage
In order to maximise the potential of getting your flock genetically linked, it is important that other flocks within your breed are willing to us this semen also. A minimum of three LambPlus flocks from within your breed will be required. These breeders will need to use the same ram. Should a large number of flocks apply for this semen, this will not be an issue. However, in the event of very low demand it may be necessary for all applicants to use the same semen.
For other options on how to get linked see here.
Deadline for expressions of interest
Given that the breeding season is almost upon us, especially for early lambing flocks, we are imposing a short window for breeders to express an interest in using this semen. We request that breeders notify us by 10am on Monday 9th July.
Please do so by emailing the following details to email@example.com
- Your name and flock designator
- What rams you would be interested in using.
- How many semen doses per sire you would like to use?
- Who is your AI provider?
Alternatively, interested breeders can call the Sheep Ireland office with the above details on 023 88 20 451.
Provider of AI services
If you do not currently have an AI provider, the following are Irish service providers which Sheep Ireland are aware of. You will need to contact one of these providers to arrange a synchronisation protocol for your ewes and a date and venue for your ewes to be AI’d.
|ProStar Genetics||Ronan Gallagher||087 983 7107|
|AB Europe||Geraint Thomas||0044 7967 764 132|
|Glengoyne Genetics||Seamus McGuiness||0044 7974 575 997|
What happens once I express my interest in partaking in RamPlus?
Sheep Ireland will assess the number of flocks expressing an interest in using the 2018 RamPlus semen. This will determine if the programme can proceed for your breed (if there is at least 3 flocks interested) or if flocks will need to be prioritised based on the criteria outlined earlier in this letter (if a large number of flocks express an interest in the semen). Sheep Ireland will confirm these details immediately once the deadline for expressions of interest passes at 10am on Monday July 9th.
What are the rams in this years program?
Click on the links below to see pictures of the selected rams along with their current €uroStar index.