9 May 2023
Farming Connect is excited to announce plans to support performance recording in Welsh sheep flocks through the new Welsh Sheep Genetics Programme.
By working closely with world-leading genetic experts, Innovis and AHDB Signet the programme will focus on improving the efficiency of Welsh sheep flocks by increasing the number of sheep farmers participating in the genetic improvements of their flocks.
Farming Connect is now searching for new flocks to join the programme, specifically Welsh hill and upland breeds, as well as pedigree flocks of Bluefaced Leicester, Lleyn, Romney and Charmoise Hill. Gwawr Williams, Head of Sheep Genetics with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect on behalf of the Welsh Government, says that the programme offers a fantastic opportunity for flocks experienced in performance recording to continue their genetic improvement journey, as well as the chance for new flocks to start their own journeys.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses who are already performance recording, or looking to start recording, to take advantage of Farming Connect support in all aspects of the process to increase the sustainability of their business for the future.”
“Using EBVs as a tool to improve specific traits can have a massive impact on flock productivity. Using the data collected to its full potential allows for farmers to make justified decisions on where they can improve within their flocks - leading to greater financial returns for their businesses”.
Participating flocks will benefit from various support throughout the two-year programme, including financial support to aid data collection, advice and guidance on setting achievable targets for flock improvements, opportunities to improve knowledge and understanding of the topic, as well as an opportunity to be involved in breakthrough research projects.
“Each flock selected will have clearly defined key performance indicators and outcomes set from the outset so that there are clear goals and mechanisms to monitor flock performance, and make necessary adjustments throughout,” said Mrs Williams.
In addition to data collection to improve overall flock performance, participants will also be offered the opportunity to take part in ground-breaking research projects, with the objective of developing specific breeding traits for lower methane emissions, and worm resistance in sheep.
A critical component in the success of the Farming Connect knowledge transfer programme is its role of sharing best practice and cascading information to the wider industry. Through a programme of high-profile events and promotional tools, Farming Connect is able to share the findings and outcomes of this work, highlighting new innovative workstreams and technologies in the field of sheep genetics.
For more information on eligibility and to apply, please visit the Farming Connect website. The window for applications opens on Monday, 8th May, and the closing date for submitting an expression of interest is 12pm on the 9th June 2023