Southdown breeder, Patrick Goldsworthy farms at Ambleside, Grafham, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
In 2007 the Webbellis Flock was established with three Pedigree Southdown ewes. Numbers gradually increased to around 50 by keeping home-bred replacements and buying in stock from other breeders.
The Webbellis Flock has been Signet recorded since 2009. Patrick has believed in the value of performance recording since monitoring cattle weights for the MLC after leaving Seale Hayne College. He has always weighed his lambs, but was keen to take this to the next level – using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to assess the economic performance of individuals in the flock more accurately.
Within the breed around 12 flocks now record, in particular those with larger flocks. Patrick leads the group involved in recording.
“To be profitable, pedigree breeders targeting commercial farmers have to breed sheep that the market is looking for,” says Patrick. “They need lambs that grow well and finish early, and thrive on grass.”
All female sheep kept for breeding must have good figures. The higher index females tend to be kept, providing they do not show any major faults. Of the 25 ewe lambs produced, around 14 of them are usually retained. The Webbellis flock now has the highest index ewe lambs available within the breed.
Patrick analyses individual performance figures in minute detail to determine each animal’s potential.
Shane Conway – Signet