Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme
What is the Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme?
The Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme (WSGP) is a brand new support package by Farming Connect, which offers sheep farmers technical and financial support, guidance and advice to strengthen their flocks performance, improve productivity and increase profitability through improving genetics.
What will you gain by taking part?
- Learn how to use EBVs to maximise your flocks breeding potential, by selecting for key traits relevant to your own flock.
- Create a breeding action plan with clear recommendations on steps you should take to improve the quality of your flock including performance recording and analysis of key data.
- Expert advice to ensure your sheep make genetic progress, achieving better flock health and improved economic performance.
- Through innovative projects, participate in breakthrough research focusing on breeding for lower methane emissions, breeding for worm resistance, and the benefits of routinely using genomic breeding values within your flock.
The programme will be split into two tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 will include Welsh hill and upland breeds of sheep.
As well as targeted support for sheep breeds within Tier 1, through the inclusion of Tier 2, the programme will also offer support to specific maternal breeds within the eligibility criteria limited to: Lleyn, Romney, Charmoise Hill and Bluefaced Leicester.
Applications for both tiers will be open to flocks currently recording as well as flocks who are new to performance recording.
Eligibility criteria can be found here.
What will the programme involve?
By working closely with world-leading genetic experts, Innovis, and AHDB-Signet, the programme will focus on improving the economic and environmental efficiency of Welsh sheep flocks by using data collection and analysis, as well as exploring breakthrough research and innovation.
The programme will involve different elements, with the key objective of strengthening the knowledge and understanding of performance recording and selecting EBVs to suit flock requirements.
Participating flocks will be supported to collect vital flock performance data throughout the duration of the programme, with the option of manual recording or using DNA parentage. Ultrasound scanning will also be carried out annually on lambs to assess muscle and fat depth.
One element of the programme will involve collecting KPIs for each flock, and formulating a breeding action plan based on current genetic performance, evaluating genetic trends. The plan will allow farmers to identify traits to improve, helping them select rams with suitable EBVs to target their flocks requirements.
Another element of the programme will involve accessing a tailored Farming Connect Support Package which will lead to access to a brand new learning model - ‘Gearing up to Genetics’.
The ‘Gearing up to Genetics’ aspect of the programme will offer individuals advice and guidance through various avenues, including for example, workshops, clinics, events and Masterclasses. Participants will be able to access the model depending on their level of experience within genetic improvement.
The programme will also explore innovation and new technologies surrounding sheep genetics. Participants will be offered the opportunity to take part in ground-breaking research, with the objective of formulating traits to target specific issues, e.g. lowering methane emissions and reducing worm burdens.
The application window has now closed
Gwydion Owen - Sheep Genetics Officer (North Wales)
firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07498 055 416
Heledd Dancer - Sheep Genetics Officer (Mid Wales)
email@example.com/ 07852 593 541
Elan Davies - Sheep Genetics Officer (South Wales)
firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07572 167 878