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A new gold plus identifier has been introduced to help ram buyers identify top stock with the most productive genetics which could improve their profitability.

The new identifier was created following the success of Signet Breeding Services’ ‘Seek the Standard’ campaign in 2017, and indicates rams in the top 5 per cent of their breed, based on index.

This is in addition to the gold and silver identifiers which indicate rams in the top 10 and 25 per cent of their breed, respectively.

Emma Steele, Signet Breeding Specialist, said: “High-index rams can increase profitability by £3-4 per lamb. Over a ram’s lifetime, this is an extra £1,000. These identifiers are part of the ‘Seek the Standard’ campaign, which encourages breeders to ‘Seek, Check and Review’ to ensure they buy rams with high genetic merit.

“The response to the 2017 campaign was brilliant and we had breeders making their own identifiers to show their stock had higher indexes than the top 10 per cent. Due to this demand, we are running the campaign again with an additional ‘gold plus’ identifier, so ram buyers can easily spot rams in the top 5 per cent of their breed, as well as the top 10 and 25 per cent.”

Matt Harding, pedigree breeder of Bentley Suffolks, has used the identifiers and said: “The 2017 campaign gave us another opportunity to make our stock stand out at sales. The gold and silver identifiers made it easy for buyers to spot high-index rams at a glance.

“We’re looking forward to trying out the new gold plus identifier this year, which will really highlight rams with some of the most productive genetics in the breed.”

Once breeders have identified rams with top genetics, they should check the ear tag identity of the animal and review its Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) with the breeder, using the sale chart or online at basco.org

Driving greater on-farm uptake of genetic potential by increasing the use and understanding of EBVs is a key activity in the AHDB Beef & Lamb 2017-2020 strategy.

Signet Breeding Services will be making all identifiers, which are designed to be worn around the neck, available to Sheep Breeder clients from 1 April 2018. Email [email protected] to place your order.