Commercial sheep farms in Wales are being encouraged to join a project to improve genetics.

RamCompare, the UK’s leading progeny test for terminal sire breeds, is appealing for Welsh farms to support its bid to enhance sheep genetics nationwide.

This project is jointly funded by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and AHDB and works in collaboration with partners across the supply chain, accelerating the pace of genetic progress in the UK sheep industry.

HCC’s Dr Heather McCalman, research, development and sustainability executive, said: "We are keen to see more farms from Wales joining this pioneering work which uses on farm data to drive genetic improvement within the UK sheep industry.

"There are many benefits for the farms involved in RamCompare including engagement in one of the UK’s leading sheep breeding projects, the provision of recorded rams for natural mating, funding to undertake AI and access to AI sires for a portion of the flock, as well as a farm payment."

The data used for driving this genetic evolution is gathered from commercial farms and abattoir records, which are subsequently used for genetic evaluations by Signet Breeding Services.

Dr McCalman encourages Welsh farms interested in genetics and willing to record flock performance to apply, as the utilisation of advanced genetics can considerably boost flock performance and profitability.

The recruited farms will join the project prior to the 2024 mating season, their engagement spanning across two breeding seasons.

They will be required to comply with certain criteria such as maintaining a minimum of 300 uniform breeding ewes and have a known flock health status.

Alwyn Nutting from Glascoed Farm, Aberhafesp, Newtown, a participant in the project, said: "Our interest in using performance recorded stock began when we selected a bull based on figures some years ago.

"The project is enabling us to trial high genetic merit rams of different breeds which are selected on specific traits which are believed to best suit our system."

The application process is currently open and set to close on May 3, 2024.

Further details and the application process can be accessed on the HCC website.