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Performance Recording

You cannot improve anything unless you measure it.” This is why recording is so important to breed improvement.

Weights of all Brettles Charollais lambs are recorded at 8 weeks and again at around 21 weeks at which time a specialist scanner uses ultrasound scanning to measure the muscle depth and fat depth at a specified point on the loin of each lamb.

For the last six years the best lambs from ultrasound scanning have been taken to Edinburgh or more recently Nottingham to be CT scanned. This is a whole body scan to determine the proportions of meat, fat and bone for each lamb and compare this with others.

All these details are fed into a Signet Sheepbreeder computer programme to identify those animals with the highest genetic potential to increase growth rates, increase muscle area and make sure fat levels are neither too fat nor too lean.

 

The programme takes into account data from recorded parents and grandparents as well as the animal itself to come up with EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values).

Through membership of the Charollais Sires, Sire Reference Scheme, the Brettles Charollais flock has been able to use frozen semen from Sire Reference Rams that have the highest genetic potential. Combined with rigorous selection of retained breeding stock, based on figures and conformation, dramatic strides have been made within the Brettles flock as can be seen on the following table.

Introducing new bloodlines from un-recorded flocks depresses the EBV average until such time as there are enough progeny that have been recorded to provide reliable data and this can result in reversal of improvement trends for a while.