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The Romney High-Index Scheme (RHIS) members have been involved with an EU project looking at parasitic phenotypes on new and introduced sheep breeds.

The project has been part funded by Innovation for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in Europe (iSAGE) and AHDB Beef & Lamb. It has led to the first widespread collection of individual faecal egg counts (FEC) and saliva IgA measurements across the Romney Marsh breed. Over 470 lambs have been successfully sampled over the course of the summer.

Saliva IgA is an immunoglobin found in the saliva of sheep genetically more capable at coping with a parasitic challenge from Teladorsagia circumcincta, an important member of the Strongyles family, which has a higher pathogenicity than many of the other species present in samples.

The pilot project will compare differences in performance and parasitic traits between pure UK Romney’s and those descended from imported New Zealand strains.

This gives the Romney breed a foundation towards the creation of Saliva IgA EBVs. It is hoped that the RHIS members will continue data collection in years to come.

RHIS Members involved:

P H & P E Skinner         – Aragon Flock

A Barr & Son Ltd           – Pivington Flock

H V Langrish                  – Pickney Bush Flock

G L Boulden & Sons      – Ruffins Flock


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