Promising initial results from Welsh Hill Ram Scheme

The concept of the Hill Ram Scheme was created in order to help hill farmers become more resilient and sustainable in their businesses
The concept of the Hill Ram Scheme was created in order to help hill farmers become more resilient and sustainable in their businesses

Lambs sired by performance recorded rams were heavier than lambs sired by non-performance recorded rams, according to Wales's Hill Farm Scheme.

These results showed that lambs sired by performance recorded rams were on average 1.6kg heavier at 8 weeks than their non-performance recorded equivalents.

Additionally, there were 13% less lambs under 20kg at 8 weeks when recorded sires were used, with 76% of the performance recorded lambs being over 20kg at 8 weeks.

Furthermore, 22% more lambs sired by recorded rams were over 30kg at weaning, Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the scheme's creators, said.



Compared with non-recorded sired lambs, the lambs sired by performance recorded rams were on average 2.4kg heavier.

In monetary terms, this means lambs sired by performance recorded rams could be worth approximately £4.00 more each.



Gwawr Parry, HCC’s Flock Genetics Executive who co-ordinates the scheme, said initial results are 'very exciting'.

"The use of genetic performance recording will allow hill farmers to produce lambs for a wider range of markets by using genetics," she said.

"The concept of the Hill Ram Scheme was created in order to help hill farmers become more resilient in their businesses; allowing them to target various aspects of flock performance to produce lambs efficiently and within a wider range of market specifications.’

"In a hill environment it is difficult to target growth and finishing in lambs. However, these results show that small genetic differences can have a big impact on margins without fundamentally changing farmers’ systems."

A second expression of interest window to join the scheme ended in March this year, with a third and final wave of new flocks set to join autumn.