Who is running the RamCompare project?
The RamCompare project is being managed by a consortium of partners from right along the UK sheep industry supply chain. It is financed by AHDB, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Quality Meat Scotland and Agrisearch, with support provided by Sainsbury’s, Randall Parker Foods, Dunbia and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). For more information about project partners click here
How long will the RamCompare project run for?
Phase I of the project started in May 2015 with the preliminary results launched in November 2017. In 2017 the project secured additional funding through the combined levy boards to continue for a further three seasons, Until December 2010.
What is the aim of the RamCompare project?
The RamCompare project will enable the performance of progeny by different rams to be compared under commercial conditions, therefore it will be an important step in allowing animals to be compared irrespective of breed.
The ambition is that, in time, one genetic analysis will be produced that will encompass data from all terminal sire breeds.
How are the rams for the RamCompare project chosen?
Performance recorded rams are selected to be representative of the top 20 per cent of their breed based on their estimated breeding values (EBVs). During the first two years we used rams from five breeds including Charollais, Suffolk, Texel, Meatlinc and Hamsphire Down. Since 2017 this has opened up to include all terminal sire breeds. A team of AI sires and natural service rams are selected for use on each farm and these ram teams change each year. Details of the rams used so far are here: Mated 2015, lambed 2016. Mated 2016, lambed 2017. Mated 2017, lambing 2018.
How are the flocks for the RamCompare project chosen?
A press release was sent out inviting commercial farms to apply. The team selected farms based on their experience of using electronic identification and collecting performance records, their ability to dedicate in excess of 320 ewes to the project and the genetic uniformity of the ewes being used on the test.
What makes the RamCompare project so unique?
This is the first time a commercial progeny test has been established in the UK on this scale. It will enable the performance of progeny by different rams to be compared under commercial conditions, and be an important step in allowing animals to be compared irrespective of breed. Through data collected so far, we have been able to establish new estimated breeding values (EBV’s) including carcase weight, carcase confirmation, carcase fat and an overall carcase merit. Analysis of the data set continues to identify sound genetic parameters for further developing the information that can be provided back from the abattoirs in terms of overall growth, primal meat yielding and tenderness attributes.