SHEEP experts have advised farmers this autumn that big is not always beautiful when it comes to buying a ram for the flock.
It's far better to choose an animal that will stay alive and mate successfully, according to the team from England's beef and lamb executive (EBLEX).
Their guidance follows concern that one in five rams in the national flock are having to be culled prematurely because they are insufficiently fertile or have problems with legs and feet.
Over feeding is another cause of uneconomic breeding, giving rise to disease and a short life.
The advisers have offered breeders a list of do's and don'ts which include:
Use Estimated Breeding Values to identify rams with the right genetics and think about the traits that will make you most money.
The internet is a great tool for sourcing rams with high genetic merit, with thousands of records available through the Signet Breeding Services at www.signetfbc.co.uk
Talk to the breeder about breeding requirements, and find out about the health status of the flock and the ram's pre-sale nutritional regime.
Ensure they do not exceed the 60:40 forage to concentrate ratio (in relation to dry matter).
Finally, make sure you give rams a physical examination. Remember the five Ts: Teeth, testicles, toes, tone (as in body condition) and treat (for parasites).
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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