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Black & White

Issue 4

The modern terminal sire

Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association

Paying attention to performance EBVs pays dividends

Improving productivity + performance = more profit Brian and Janet Hill are continually attempting to improve productivity and profitability on their 1,600 acre hill farm, and they are succeeding. Since relocating to the Isle of Bute unit in 1994 they have completely transformed the traditional livestock enterprises at Plan Farm, Kingarth. Three major changes have been introduced to the flock. • A three-tier traditional breeds system has been swapped for the Lleyn which has enabled the Hills to develop a closed flock selected for maternal traits, and reduce ewe numbers from over 1,000 to 650, because the same number of lambs are being produced. Lambing percentage has improved from 115% to between 185% and 190%.

Janet Hill • minimal intervention at lambing • new born lambs get up and suck immediately • thick tight skins lend hardiness “Our Hampshire Down cross lambs are demonstrating incredible growth rates and finish off grass which is helping us to reduce costs and improve the flock’s overall value.”

• Technology has been embraced with electronic tagging and subsequently careful analysis of data in order to identify the best ewes which are held in a nucleus flock for breeding replacements. • Hampshire Down rams have been introduced and crossed to any lower performing ewes and the lambs finished. “Reducing ewe numbers has saved us money and time however one of the biggest benefits has been freeing up more grass so we can finish more of our own lambs. When we started, we only finished about 20% of the home-bred lambs, now we finish 70% of them,” says Janet. “In fact, I get so excited about our Hampshire Down cross lambs because they really do have that get up and go, they thrive and go on to finish quickly off grass at an average 21kg deadweight. “Furthermore, I pay particular attention to EBVs for growth rate and killing out percentage when purchasing rams and we’ve subsequently increased the average carcase weight of the prime lambs by 2.5kg in two years.” The Hills say they are so pleased with the Hampshire Down lambs’ performance and their contribution towards improving the farm’s productivity and profitability that they have decided to develop a closed flock of purebred ewes to breed their own terminal sires. They also plan to separate the Lleyn ewes into five families and start retaining some of their own rams for breeding. Careful recording of performance will be critical in selecting the best sires of the future. She adds: “Farming efficiently on Bute is hugely important because of the extra costs of buying in feed, fertiliser, seed and straw from the mainland and also the increased costs of transport to haul lambs and calves off the island to markets. However, I believe the message to other livestock producers, no matter where they farm, is the same to eliminate nonperformers and not stand for any passengers.”


early maturing lambs

What to look for: The Modern Terminal Sire

The Hampshire Down If you are searching for a modern terminal sire, then the Hampshire Down will provide a solution. Hampshire Down rams leave fast growing lambs with exceptional feed conversion rates; they will finish to target deadweight off milk and grass from 12 weeks and grade within the specification. Not only do Hampshire Down cross lambs demonstrate high levels of performance; they are also easy to lamb, lively and extremely thrifty and hardy. You can expect the rams to be keen to work over a lifetime of five to six years. How come? Progressive Hampshire Down breeders have over the last decade flock recorded and carefully selected for modern performance traits: muscling, conformation, killing out percentage and in particular for reduced back fat. At the same time they have retained and enhanced the breed’s native characteristics to achieve a blend of genetics which meet with modern market requirements. Breeder collaboration has also been essential to that success together with modern tools, Signet Sire Reference Scheme (SRS) and CT scanning. Today, almost 70% of its lamb registrations are by Signet recorded rams, the highest volume of any breed association or society. Signet SRS has accelerated the breed’s genetic progress together with an injection of NZ bloodlines.

Recent genetic improvements lend the modern Hampshire Down to be longer with a larger carcase; it demonstrates higher growth rates, leaner conformation and more measurable muscle. Hampshire Down rams leave cross bred lambs demonstrating • average 0.37kg DLG • average 14 weeks finish off milk and grass • conformation R + • hardiness – ability to thrive in extremes of climate • easy to lamb and lively lambs

low input finishing from grass based systems


Genetic improvement is permanent and cumulative

Hampshire Down recording – taking the whole breed forward More informed breeding decisions, means better breeding decisions – and the Hampshire Down breed is a great example of a breed which is doing just that.

Chart 1. Proportion of Hampshire Down lambs with recorded parents 0.8

Lambs with performance recorded sire Lambs with performance recorded dam

Proportion with recorded parent








0 2001















Chart 2. Distribution of Hampshire Down index values for lambs born in 2000 & 2013 30.00%

That’s because Hampshire Down breeders have adopted a whole breed approach and actively participate in weight recording and using the Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) provided by Signet in their selection procedures. The impact of this strategy is clear to see since the first across flock breeding evaluations in 2000 to present day. For example, in 2000, less than 40% of Hampshire Down lambs were sired by a performance recorded ram compared with almost 70% today. Similarly, roughly 20% of the ewes producing Hampshire Down lambs had been weight recorded themselves whilst 13 years later, in 2013, that figure had risen to over 50%. See chart 1. For many breeders this is a real tipping point – when both parents have been performance recorded, true genetic differences are much easier to identify and decisions can be made with much greater confidence.

Index in 2000 Index in 2013

Furthermore, in 2000 only 3% of the Hampshire Down population had indexes over 200 – now over 40% of lambs are in this category. In fact 30% of lambs born last year had similar or superior genes to the top 1% of the lambs born in 2000. This is a remarkable achievement in a relatively short period of time. Chart 2 demonstrates how the genetic potential of the whole population has been lifted.

Proportion of the Population






0.00% -25










Breeding Values









There are a number of reasons why the Hampshire Down recording scheme has been successful; widespread data collection through the use of weight recording, ultrasound scanning and computed tomography have played a part, however ultimately every lamb is the product of a mating decision made by an individual breeder, and it is the combined decisions made by Hampshire Down breeders up and down the country that have led to these improvements. At the heart of making these informed decisions are the use of EBVs and performance records. Hampshire Down breeders aren’t just talking about performance figures – they are using performance figures. This level of involvement means that not only does Signet’s recording scheme help to identify superior sheep within the breed, but it also gives you confidence whilst making selection decisions that the rams you buy are going to perform in the manner predicted by their EBVs. Signet manager, Sam Boon


good conformation

Sustainable intensification – making more from less

A winning formula: exploiting performance from minimal inputs

The key to improving gross margin per ewe within a low input foragebased system like ours is producing lambs that finish as early as possible and consequently eat less grass dry matter (DM). In fact, the difference between a set of Hampshire Down cross twin lambs finished at 12 weeks and the tail end of the crop at 30 weeks is approximately 290kgs DM, a significant volume worth £23.18. Those figures are based on ewes bearing twin lambs requiring 2.8kg grass DM per day - 1.5kg per ewe and 1.3kg per twin lambs with an additional 1kg for lambs up to six weeks, costed at 30p per day. Furthermore, early finishing also frees up grassland for the remaining ewes and lambs, while other parts of the farm can be rested. Our main objective for the flock is to breed our own replacements and produce prime lambs as efficiently as possible. Six years ago we introduced the Hampshire Down as a terminal sire to put over the Mule ewes to maximise returns from forage and we found the cross fits our system like a glove. These rams are selected from within the breed’s top 10% for growth and muscle depth Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and positive fat EBV for easy finishing, Our Hampshire Down sired lambs finish 15% faster than other crosses. The first draft is finished to target 45kg liveweight off milk and grass, realising 20.5kg deadweight and a minimum of R3L to meet with the multiples’ demand. We aim for 25% finished by weaning at 16 weeks, and for the entire crop to be away before Christmas without any form of concentrate. Meticulous grass and soil management is essential to realising this level of performance. We run quite a simple yet ruthless system, working with nature to get the best out of the land. We’ve introduced a 10 year grazing and cropping rotation featuring red clover/high sugar grasses, lucerne, organic oats and whole crop oats/peas under-sown with grass, along with pasture silage, brassicas to finish the tail end of the lamb crop, re-sown with grass/red or white clover the following spring, depending on where we are in the rotation.

Simon Bainbridge Donkin Rigg, Cambo, Morpeth 1,600 acres, fully organic SDA and moorland 1,400 ewe closed flock Swaledales and North of England Mules 140 cow suckler herd • low maintenance lambing, minimum labour • 95% of ewes lamb within first two weeks • ewes checked during daylight hours only • lambs very lively and quick to suckle Simon Bainbridge was awarded the Caltech Hampshire Down Commercial Flock of the Year. “This unit stood out in all the judging areas - cost control, recording and genetic selection, health management, outstanding grassland, forage and soil management. Equally important, it had a clear focus on its market and meeting specifications.” Judge, NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker

high killing out %


Hampshire Down rams are working in comm systems throughout the UK. Here’s I’m farming a split lambing flock of 500 ewes – a mix of Suffolk cross and Texel cross; sheep are my sole enterprise, and so I’m always looking for ways to improve its efficiency. Introducing Hampshire Down rams has definitely been a good investment. My Hampshire Down cross lambs are all finishing off grass at an average 19.5kg and they’re grading R or better. What’s really noticeable is they’re putting on finish quicker than lambs by other terminal sires, and they often weigh heavier than you think. In fact, my Hampshire Down cross lambs are consistently achieving target weight four weeks earlier than lambs by other terminal sires, which in turn is having a real impact on grazing availability. The entire crop of January born lambs are away by July leaving more grass for the remainder, whilst March born lambs are all finished by October freeing up swards for tupping and winter feed.

Emyr Williams Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire

• Finishing off pure grass system • Easy fleshed • Contributes towards minimizing input costs, including labour and treatments

• Reduced inputs reflected in variable costs • Lambs grow away without any checks • Rams willing to work

We are continually redressing the balance of inputs and outputs in an attempt to counter escalating costs on our 380 acre grassland unit which is fairly tightly stocked with a 380 ewe flock and 75 suckler cows. We’ve always attempted to make the most from grazed grass, the cheapest form of forage and introducing the Hampshire Down as a terminal sire has contributed to our decision making.

Raymond & Nixon Nutt Claudy, Derry


We’ve been highly impressed with the how Hampshire Down cross lambs turn out; they have height, length, a good killing out percentage and outstanding growth rates. We lamb in March and April to coincide with the flush of spring grass, they are easy to lamb and compared with our Continental crosses, they finish far sooner with the first reaching target finishing weight within 10 weeks and the entire crop within 16 weeks thereby freeing up grassland earlier for flushing the ewes, as well as the beef herd.

fast growth rates

mercial flocks operating different management ’s how some of them are getting on. I help to manage our family’s busy 3,200 acre mixed unit, and land unsuited to arable cropping carries a North County Mule flock with 270 breeding ewes lambing at Christmas and 330 ewe lambs. We introduced the Hampshire Down three years ago because we wanted a breed leaving lambs quick to finish with quality carcases, and that’s proved to be the case. We aim to wean around eight weeks old and continue feeding creep. Our lambs are reaching 18kg to 20kg target finishing weight between 12 and16 weeks of age and they’re grading around the 3L mark. We find that our Hampshire Down cross lambs are easy to lamb, and they’re up, standing and suckling off their mother within five minutes of birth. That’s a massive help to us within our commercial set up and since we are lambing the entire flock within a 10 day period.

Toni Speakman Chelmsford, Essex • Lively, thrifty lambs • Tight skins and fleeces • Early finishing adds value and fits into a mixed farming operation

• Vigorous lambs resistant to chill factor • Rams selected within the breed’s top 10% on performance traits • Forage system minimises finishing costs

We’re farming flocks of Romneys and North County Cheviots totalling 2,600 ewes and ewe lambs on two farms featuring moorland and SDA hill located in one of the driest parts of Britain with 23 inch average rainfall. Our objective is to maximise income per ewe, consequently for the portion of the Romney flock put to a terminal sire, we need to increase the number of lambs finished off grass before it starts to burn off and without having to cake. That’s where the Hampshire Down comes in. Compared with lambs by other terminal sires, our Hampshire Down cross Romney lambs have the edge; we’re lambing outdoors and find they’re easier to manage, the lambs are up and suck quicker, and then grow on to finish more quickly off milk and grass from 12 weeks. For us, it’s not always about maximising weight, it’s about operating a flexible cost efficient system which achieves a lamb to market from our own resources.

early maturing lambs

Adam Waugh Kelso, Roxburghshire


Traditional brand, award winning lamb

Hampshire Down lamb for eating quality Hampshire Down lamb is offering superb quality and flavour, and meeting demand from discerning customers in Bristol, London and beyond as well as being awarded a series of prestigious accolades for James Odgers who took on 25 pedigree breeding ewes when he purchased Stream Farm, a 250 acre organic holding located in the Quantocks near Bridgwater. “I said I would change the breed, as and when, however I have stuck with it simply because I haven’t found any better,” he says. Twelve years on and the flock amounts to 250 purebred Hampshire Down ewes and it is just one of eight enterprises, including beef, chickens and rainbow trout, which are helping other aspiring farmers to put a foot on the bottom rung. “We believe that the British countryside is far better served by a large number of smaller farms selling their produce direct to those that consume it.

Matthew Griffiths

“We have subsequently developed a share farming model which enables up to eight, first time farming families to earn a livelihood from Stream Farm at any one time. Each has their own enterprise, all help each other out when necessary and in return we provide the land, and the shared equipment and market the produce direct. After two to three years of gaining the relevant skills and experience to run their own business, the plan is that they seek out their own farmland while we are able to provide them with stock and the opportunity to market their product under the Stream Farm brand.” The purebred Hampshire Down flock is delivering both performance and quality. Shepherd, Matthew Griffiths says: “The ewes achieve an average 140% lambs reared, whilst we select from the top performance recorded rams for growth and muscle depth, genetics which are reflected in the lambs. They reach a good weight off grass alone finishing at 20kg to 22kg deadweight within four to five months, and they kill out with a good cover.”

“A really superb sweet lamb flavour – a real treat, both to cook with and to eat.”

Lambs are slaughtered locally and hung for one week enhancing the taste of meat which has earned Stream Farm prestigious Taste of the West Gold and Silver awards. “It’s that consistent quality combined with the Hampshire brand, pedigree, solid traditional British and organic - messages which help us to open doors to market the lamb,” says Mr Odgers. “We have worked hard to develop sales to a mix of top end retail outlets such as River Cottage and Harvey Nichols, delis, independent high street organic butchers and restaurants in Bristol, London and beyond, whilst 40% of lamb sales are direct to consumers in boxes. In return we have established a price point that is competitive with ‘best range’ and organic.

Louise McCrimmon, head chef, Harvey Nichols, Bristol


low input finishing from grass based systems

Meeting market demand and turning in a profit

Three pronged solution to maximising output from reduced inputs I’m the fifth generation to take forward the family farm which carries a sole sheep enterprise, and for me the future, post CAP Reform, is all about maintaining an efficient and sustainable enterprise which delivers to meet market demand and turn in a profit. That means we have to have the tools to achieve our goal. Since swapping crossbred ewes for a closed flock of Lleyns, performance has increased by 20% to 185% lambs from ewes put to the ram and the average scanned barren is around 3%. We are continuously searching out the latest technologies which have the potential to help us make further progress. For example, EID is helping us to Signet performance record every ewe and lamb and thereby select the most efficient for replacement purposes. Our 2020 goal is for the flock to be within the breed’s top 50% for maternal index. From our top 50% recorded ewe lambs, 30% are retained as replacements and the remainder sold, The bottom half of the performance recorded females, which are essentially a by-product, are introduced to Hampshire Down rams to achieve an acceptable 170% lambs reared from ewes put to the ram. Our Hampshire Down rams are selected from within the breed’s top 10% for growth and muscling and they’re certainly living up to what we’d read; their lambs require minimal intervention at lambing, the new born lambs get up and suck immediately, and they have tight thick skins providing hardiness. Furthermore, compared with previous terminal sire breeds used, our Hampshire Down cross lambs are able to produce meat solely from grass – 15% are finishing to 19kg and they’re away by 14 week weaning, the crop is averaging 19kg target weight and grading within the U, R specification in 20 weeks, whilst the entire crop is finished within six months by the end of September. Fast finishing not only saves on bought-in feed costs but also frees up the grazing swards for the breeding ewes. Such flock performance we believe has to be commended since we farm on the edge of Exmoor. Despite the altitude and 80 inch average annual rainfall, our objective is to maximise the unit’s potential by careful sward management. Working closely with our agronomist, we’ve developed a five year rotation featuring an average 40 acres of annual reseeding with the latest high sugar varieties that are most suited to growing at 1,000 feet. Red clover is useful for lamb finishing and we introduce approximately 10 acres each year. We are also conscious of weed control and our annual programme features spraying and wiping, as well as reseeding.

good conformation

Matt and Bill Geen Great Combeshead, South Molton, Devon 900 acre LFA grassland unit 1,700 ewes Pure Lleyns + Hampshire Down cross lambs + forage management Seeking to maximise output from fewer inputs in order to adjust more readily to CAP Reform? Matt Geen has a simple, three pronged solution • breeding and rearing volumes of high genetic merit, low maintenance Lleyn ewes for the commercial market place • exploiting the bottom half of the flock’s potential by crossing with Hampshire Down sires to produce fast finishing, quality lamb for a quick cash flow • maximising the use of homegrown forage


Breeders with stock for sale

Measuring and monitoring


Abbishaw, Mr & Mrs Jeffrey & Barbara, Hastings House Farm, Littletown, DURHAM, DH6 1QB - Tel: 0191 37 21 742 Email:


Adams, Mr Mike J, Warners Court, Wotton Road, Charfield, WOTTON under EDGE, Gloucestershire, GL12 8TG - Tel: 01454 261 072 Mobile: 0790 99 24 528 Email:


Barnard & McPherson, Messrs Jonathan & Justine, 2 Westmill Farmhouse, Westmill Lane, Stalbridge, STURMINSTER NEWTON, Dorset, DT10 2RU - Tel: 01963 362 261 | Mobile: 0777 56 85 480 | Email:


Birkwood, Mr & Mrs J, Thorbeck, Main Road, North Thoresby, GRIMSBY, Lincolnshire, DN36 5PP - Tel: 01472 841 461 | Mobile: 0771 13 59 960 Email:


Blenkharn, Mr & Mrs David & Tracy, 3 Brockley Moor, Plumpton, PENRITH, Cumbria, CA11 9NT - Tel: 01768 894 360 Mobile: 0777 44 25 755 | Email:


Borsey & Sivill, Messrs Jennifer & Martin, Glanrafon, Waen, St Asaph, Denbighshire, LL17 0DY - Tel: 01745 582 871 Email:


What to do? - Daily lamb growth rate can be measured with or without EID technology. Identify a random selection of lambs within a group. Each time they are handled, weigh the same animals.

Boyles, Mr & Mrs Geoff & Jean, Dart House, West Worlington, CREDITON, Devon, EX17 4TT - Tel: 01884 861 398 | Mobile: 0776 20 80 508 Email:


Brand & Son, Messrs Richard, East Fortune Farm, North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 5JU - Tel: 01620 880 231 | Mobile: 0797 49 50 671 Email:

Trends - Sales patterns provide a good indication of growth rate. • What is the age of lambs at first selection? • Is there a dip in lamb sales mid-season? • How many lambs are still on-farm after Christmas?


Burd, Mr Daniel James, Hilltown Cottage, Chawleigh, CHULMLEIGH, Devon, EX18 7DL - Tel: 01769 580 597 Email:


Chasney, Mrs Lisa M, Wilstrop Hall Farm, Green Hammerton, York, North Yorkshire, YO26 8HA - Tel: 01423 339 357 Email:


Craig, Mr John R, The Lumb Farm, Rathmell, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0AJ - Tel: 07971 599185 | Mobile: 0797 15 99 185 Email:


Cresswell, Mr E J, Casons Farm Cottage, 8 The Oaks, Wattisfield, DISS, Norfolk, IP22 1HL - Tel: 01359 251 326 | Mobile: 07767 864 146 Email:


Derryman, Messrs H C & Sons, Peterhayes Farm, Yarcombe, HONITON, Devon, EX14 9LW - Tel: 01404 881 296 Email:

vital tools to improved profitability Lamb growth rate is a key driver of performance and profitability, regardless of farm type and farming system. However, do you know if your flock is on track? Do you know your flock’s average lamb growth rate last year? Did twins grow at more than 300g/ day? What proportion of lambs were slow to finish? It’s often said than lamb growth rate is outside producers’ control and ‘you get what you get’. This simply isn’t the case. Monitoring growth rate is important to all lamb production systems regardless of selling dates or farm type because it facilitates decisions to be taken in the short-term, for example changing worming practices or feeding levels and in the long-term, inputs such as grassland improvement or flock genetics. It will also help you to identify the optimum weaning age.

Faster growing lambs will use feed consumed much more efficiently and will maximise the marketing opportunities available throughout the year. For example, a lamb growing at 200g/day will consume only 50% more feed than one growing at 100g/ day. Monitoring growth rate also helps move away from the more unhelpful measures that can too easily become the main focus of the business such as carcase weight and conformation. Whilst these matter, without looking at prior performance and feed consumed it is easy to lose sight of the system’s actual profitability. Overall, the process demonstrates why it’s important to identify the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your flock. KPIs provide that critical information that enables a sheep farming business to understand whether or not it’s meeting certain targets. For lamb production there are a number of KPIs to use: number of lambs reared, stocking rate and feed use can all be measured and subsequently analysed. Measuring and monitoring growth rate reflects your flock’s core performance. Growth rate data provides information to benchmark your flock and determine the potential for performance improvement which can deliver a significant gain to profits and in turn contribute to a sustainable future. To learn more about using KPIs and associated benchmarking visit


Dunning, Mr & Mrs Paul & Lisa, Linden, Bowling Green, Sway Road, LYMINGTON, Hampshire, SO41 8LQ - Tel: 01590 671 157 Mobile: 0776 76 83 160 | Email:


Edmunds, Mr Henry, Estate Office, Cholderton, SALISBURY, Wiltshire, SP4 0DR - Tel: 01980 629 203 | Mobile: 01980 629 308 Email:


Elsden, Mr Harry, 19 Longwood Road, HERTFORD, Hertfordshire, SG14 2JL Tel: 01992 552 749 | Mobile: 0795 11 36 930 Email:


Fletcher, Mr & Mrs J & A, 26 Coach Road, Ballyloughan, Comber, NEWTOWNARDS, County Down, BT23 5QX - Tel: 028 91 872 163 Mobile: 0779 03 60 997 | Email:


Galbraith, Mr & Mrs Graham & Judith, Endmoor Farm, Main Street, Endmoor, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0EX - Tel: 01539 567 704 Mobile: 0782 43 49 275 Email:


Halcrow, Mr & Mrs Edward & Alison, 34 Mill Road, Woodford, KETTERING, Northamptonshire, NN14 4HH - Tel: 01832 730 633 Mobile: 0780 10 48 459 | Email:


Harris, Mr & Mrs Martyn & Glynis, Salutation Farm, Little Smeaton, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 2HH - Tel: 01609 881 117 Mobile: 0797 625 01 72 | Email:

Catherine Nakielny PhD NSch, independent sheep specialist


high killing out %

Breeders with stock for sale


Henry, Messrs J P & R M, Raburn Cottage, Physic Lane, Thropton, Northumberland, NE65 7HU - Tel: 01669 621 324 Mobile: 0773 44 72 123 Email:


Wigram, Mr & Mrs F A & S L, Sydenham Home Farm, Lewdown, OKEHAMPTON, Devon, EX20 4PR - Tel: 01822 860 228 Mobile: 0797 35 21 143 | Email:


Hindmarch, Mrs Hazel, Millgreen, 4 Causeway, WOLSINGHAM, County Durham, DL13 3AZ - Tel: 01388 527 119 Email:


Williams, Mr Simon, Hall Farm, Croxby, MARKET RASEN, Lincolnshire, LN7 6BW - Tel: 01472 371 880 | Mobile: 0796 83 96 549 Email:


Hodgkins, Mr & Mrs Chris & Caroline, Locks Farm, Washington, PULBOROUGH, West Sussex, RH20 4AA - Tel: 01903 892 443 Mobile: 0797 02 12 875 | Email:


Wood, Mr George & Dr Sara, The Barn, Rushbrook Farm, Rushbrook Lane, Tanworth in Arden, Solihull, Warwickshire, B94 5HW - Tel: 01564 742 373 Mobile: 0776 31 57 964 | Email:


Hunter, T I & J, Nut Tree Farm, Peppin Lane, Fotherby, LOUTH, Lincolnshire, LN11 0UW - Tel: 01507 602 208 | Mobile: 0788 14 57 556 Email:


York, Mr & Mrs Lee & Jenny, Bramble Cottage, Derreens East, FLORENCECOURT, County Fermanagh, BT92 2AW - Tel: 028 66 348 138 Mobile: 0797 49 41 091 | Email:


Jones, Messrs E, B & S A, Maes glas, Wolfcastle, HAVERFORDWEST, Pembrokeshire, SA62 5NX Tel: 01348 840 930 | Mobile: 0796 80 26 946 Email:


Youngs, Ms Carole, Green Farm, Blackwells End, HARTPURY, Gloucestershire, GL19 3DB - Tel: 01452 700 048 Mobile: 0777 49 58 147 | Email:


Knight & Son, Messrs H J W, Westland Farm, Marshfield, CHIPPENHAM, Wiltshire, SN14 8JH - Tel: 01225 891 288 Email:


McCarthy, Messrs K P & A E, Mossbank Farm, Ballycreelly, Comber, County Down, BT23 5PX - Tel: 028 90 448 204 | Mobile: 077 853 25 028 Email:


McFarlane, Jane & Roy, West Lecropt, Bridge of Allan, STIRLING, FK9 4ND - Tel: 01786 833 370 | Mobile: 0777 05 67 561 Email:


Meredith, Mr & Mrs P F J & T, Brook Cottage, Frodesley Lane, Longnor, SHREWSBURY, Shropshire, SY5 7QQ - Tel: 01694 731 372 Email:


Middleditch & Son, Mr & Mrs David & Denise, Hole Farm, Knowl Green, Belchamp St Paul, SUDBURY, Suffolk, CO10 7BZ - Tel: 01787 237 213 Mobile: 0783 77 73 926 | Email:


Phillips, Miss Bethany Kate, Greenwell Farm Cottage, Liddells Fell Road, BLAYDON BURN, Tyne & Wear, NE21 4TA - Tel: 01914 140 694 Mobile: 0752 54 67 969 | Email:


Rea, Paul & Tracy, The Bughji, Edmonton, WADEBRIDGE, Cornwall, PL27 7JA Tel: 01208 816 140 Email:


Ritchie, Mr & Mrs Derek C, Loomcroft Farm, Wambrook, CHARD, Somerset, TA20 3EE - Tel: 01460 261 673 Mobile: 077 11 859 978 | Email:


Rooke, Mr & Mrs Paul & Nicki, Fen Farm, Green Drove, Little Hale Fen, SLEAFORD, Lincolnshire, NG34 9BG Tel: 01529 460 249 | Mobile: 0794 10 22 956 Email:


Small, Mrs S E, Little Barton Farm, Caton Cross, ASHBURTON, Devon, TQ13 7EX Tel: 01626 821 306 | Mobile: 0777 37 19 221 Email:


28 36 8 21 42

27 17 5 18 11

10 6

4 40 24

Todd, Mr Geoffrey, St Clements Wells Farm, Wallyford, East Lothian, EH21 8QN Mobile: 0776 42 24 396 | Email:


Vincent, Mr Robert, Castell Mawr, Gelliwen, Carmarthenshire, SA33 6DX Tel: 01994 484 571 | Mobile: 0787 59 04 152 Kay Email:


Watson, Mr Peter W, Merrybanks, 76 Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9EF - Tel: 01844 201 113 Mobile: 07800 772 151 Email:

Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association Secretary - Richard Davis t: 01494 488388 e:

fast growth rates

31 22 1 20


34 41

25 37

43 2 26

32 9 7 33 39 13 35


15 14

19 38






EBVs provide the only means of accurately predicting a ram’s growth and carcase qualities

Buying a Recorded Hampshire Down Ram

Ram selection getting it right

High scan weight EBV = high growth rates 122

65U1000 100


High muscle depth EBV = better conformation

Negative fat depth EBV = leaner lambs

1.98 -0.01 210

Index = overall ranking

Where to find more information about EBVs • the breeder; ask to see the ram’s Signet records • sale cards and catalogues • Signet’s on-line breed directory • Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association • Signet: 0247 647 8829; • Basco:


Selecting a ram with optimum breeding potential to produce fast growing lambs with high carcase quality is one of the most important buying decisions you’ll make during the year, after all he is ‘half’ your flock. A variety of factors influence the appearance of rams presented for sale, however it’s almost impossible to identify those with superior breeding potential by eye alone, simply because of the environmental influences, for example nutrition and season. If the ram comes from a Signet Sheepbreeder recorded flock, then you will be able to assess his breeding potential. These flocks measure economically important traits, the data is then analysed to take into account environmental influences on performance and genetic relationships between animals. A set of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) is subsequently produced from the analysis to help you identify animals with superior breeding potential. The EBVs of real interest to you will be eight week weight, scan weight, muscle depth and fat depth. Remember, EBVs provide the only means of accuracy to predict the growth and carcase qualities a ram has to pass on to his progeny. Rams selected using EBVs produce lambs worth up to £4 a head more than rams bought by eye alone – Signet. Hampshire Down sheep breeders are able to offer you the opportunity to purchase rams accompanied by EBVs. Almost 70% of Hampshire Down lamb registrations are by Signet recorded rams, the highest volume of any breed association or society. The latest national Hampshire Down breeding evaluation now incorporates the complete HDSBA pedigree database enabling all Hampshire Down flocks to benefit from the breed’s significant genetic progress.

early maturing lambs

Hampshire Down Sheep Black & White 2014  
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