The hunt is on to find sheep farmers and rams to take part in the next phase of the RamCompare project.
The project, which is funded by farm levy bodies across the UK including Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), is a national progeny test for terminal sire breeds.
Since its launch five years ago the project has recorded data from more than 280 farms across 11 different breeds, and collected data from more than 26,000 lambs in the largest trials of its kind.
It has led to the development of a series of new breeding values derived from abattoir data – designed to help farmers select the most profitable sires for their flock.
QMS said the next stage of RamCompare would focus on testing more rams and moving to a position where the inclusion of abattoir data in genetic evaluations becomes routine.
“This project works with partners across the food chain to drive faster rates of genetic improvement in the UK sheep industry,” said QMS head of industry development, Bruce McConachie.
“I would encourage farmers in Scotland to get involved in this exciting UK-wide sheep breeding project which will benefit the industry and enhance their own businesses.”
Farmers wishing to get involved can either nominate one of the rams or semen from their flock to be considered for use in the project this year, or apply to take part as a commercial producer.
The project is seeking rams from a range of terminal sire breeds and is primarily looking for rams with estimated breeding values (EBVs) in the top 20% of the breed. The natural service sires should be shearlings or older and have a known, high-health status.
Full details are online at www.signetdata.com and nominations close on May 14.
Meanwhile, at least three new commercial farms are being sought to join the project in the autumn.
Eligible farms must have at least 350 uniformly bred ewes to be mated to rams nominated by the project, they must be experienced electronic identification (EID) users and supply an abattoir that reports kill data for individual lambs.
The farms will receive a payment for the data provided, the provision of a team of recorded rams for natural mating, and funding to cover artificial insemination on a proportion of the flock.
The closing date to apply to take part is April 16 and more information is available on the Signet website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org