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Getting the best out of performance recording

The quality of the Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) produced for your flock are only as good as the data that has contributed to them. Some flocks put themselves at a disadvantage by not providing sufficient, high quality data.

By following the points outlined below, not only will you increase the accuracy of your EBVs, but you are also more likely to see the figures for genetically superior sheep within your flock increase.

When submitting lambing data

  • Submit clear, accurate and timely data
  • Where possible provide ET recipient, fostering and birth weight records
  • Check data coming back before the main analysis

When submitting eight week weights

  • Try to treat all your lambs the same
  • Check your weighscales (using a 25kg weight or bag of feed)
  • Weigh lambs between six and 12 weeks of age – and write down the weigh date
  • Weigh them all, with the odd exception of any lambs in very poor health

Collecting the best ultrasound scanning data

When ultrasound scanning lambs

  • Get your appointment booked in good time
  • Scan at an appropriate age. Most breeds are scanned at approximately 21 weeks of age, although some earlier maturing breeds can be measured from 18 weeks onwards if they are on an intensive diet
  • Try to treat all your lambs the same or ask the technician to subdivide lambs into different management groups (a show team, commercial team etc)
  • Don’t just scan the best/ram lambs – it won’t lead to higher EBVs
  • Large contemporary groups are advantageous, so scan a representative number
  • Don’t shear your lambs prior to scanning

To make the ultrasound scanning day run smoothly remember

  • Lambs are weighed on the day, so a weigh crate is required
  • The handling must take place undercover, preferably in a building without direct sunlight so the scans can be easily seen
  • Mains power is necessary at the scanning point. Generators can only be used if fitted with a voltage regulator and surge protector
  • A large table (or six small bales) is required for the scanning equipment and must be protected from sheep by hurdles
  • Handling facilities must be adequate and lambs efficiently presented at the scanning point. Please ensure adequate help is available
  • A head restraining yoke is provided by the scanning technician
  • A minimum of paraffin is used but the amount needed is affected by temperature, wool absorption and site conditions. Subsequent marks may be seen on animals if the site attracts soil particles or resists bloom dips
  • Please have your Sheepbreeder records and/or lambing book to hand in case there are any queries when processing the scanning data.

More information is available in the following factsheets: