Welsh pedigree Suffolk sheep breeders can now apply for a share of funding to boost the genetics of their flocks, thanks to the foresight of a group of pioneering breeders thirty years ago.
BRIDFA was a group-breeding programme established in 1990 by a group of progressive Suffolk breeders to advance genetic gain within their flocks. The BRIDFA flock produced by this initiative ran successfully for many years and helped to raise the profile of performance recording.
The ownership of the BRIDFA Suffolk flock was later transferred to Aberystwyth University, supporting its teaching and research activities, and also creating a financial legacy. With the agreement of the trustees, this legacy is now being made available to support ram breeders with an interest in performance recording and genetic improvement.
From Autumn 2018, eligible breeders that wish to performance record with Signet Breeding Services will be able to claim 50% funding for recording costs associated with weight recording and data analysis, ultrasound scanning and CT scanning (over and above support already provided by HCC).
“This funding for breeders of Suffolk sheep is a one-off initiative,” explained Gwawr Parry, Industry Development Officer at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC). “There’s a fixed amount of money available, so I would encourage people to apply without delay.”
Gwawr explained the criteria for eligibility; “Breeders must have a Welsh postcode, be registered with the Suffolk Sheep Society, and own at least 25 ewes producing pure-bred lambs in the flock.”
“This funding will be of interest to many breeders keen to boost the performance of their flocks to the next level,” she added. “Performance recording and scanning are proven tools to add a technological dimension to selective breeding programmes on-farm.”