Moelogan Fawr Project Introduction: Detailed flock recording to aid selection of future replacements and to make informed breeding decisions
Site: Moelogan Fawr, Llanrwst, Conwy
Technical Officer: Non Williams
Project Title: Detailed flock recording to aid selection of future replacements and to make informed breeding decisions
Introduction to project:
Careful selection of ewe replacements is imperative to enhance flock performance and profitability. Breeding ewe replacements within a closed system gives a farmer the ability to develop the flock based on the best performing ewes. In addition to selecting replacements, it is equally important to identify those ewes that are underperforming with a view to removing them from the flock. There is an abundance of flock data that could be recorded and used to select replacements.
However, identifying tailored key performance indicators (KPIs) on an individual farm basis is key in order to increase flock efficiency, both from a labour and business perspective.
Moelogan Fawr is a closed flock, and replacements are selected and kept on the farm. Llion and Siân are currently making effective use of technology to performance record the pedigree Stabiliser cattle herd and are working towards very high health status. However, they want to improve their management system adopted for the Welsh, Cheviot and crossbred ewes. Making use of on-farm records can help identify specific flock health, welfare and production issues as well as help to set farm-specific targets and action plans to address these in the future.
Establishing a good management system, involving performance recording is fundamentally important to assist breeding decisions in the future, and could also improve the farm’s profit margin. This will aid in selecting the preferred maternal and terminal traits to achieve the farm’s breeding objectives – breeding replacements and lamb production. The findings of this project could be of value to other farmers working towards benchmarking their own flock, and developing a good management system for breeding their own replacements. The work should help define the most valuable KPIs to record and develop to improve output and efficiency going forward.
The overarching aim of the project will be to identify the high performing ewes within the flock in order to identify the best females to retain as replacements.
The project objectives are to:
- Develop a consistent and effective method of recording flock data
- Make use of technology to report on individual ewe and lamb performance
- Select higher performing replacements to retain within the flock
Key Performance Indicators set:
The following key performance indicators have been agreed at the outset. These KPIs are based on 2019/20 data for the whole flock:
- Target <15% lamb losses from scanning to sale/retention
- Ewe health – keep good records of cause/diagnosis and treatments used for lameness and mastitis for each ewe
- 130% lambs reared
Timeline and Milestones:
Year 1 Timeline
There will be a similar timescale in the second year, with scope to expand data collection. Moelogan Fawr is also participating in Hybu Cig Cymru’s (HCC) Hill Ram Scheme and Stoc+ Flock and Herd Health Project, and therefore, the data collected for this project and the HCC schemes will complement each other, strengthening the pool of available data on flock recording and health.