Since the launch of genomic evaluations in 2020, an increased number of LambPlus breeders have been getting their ram lambs genomically tested prior to the sale season and this serves to benefit both the seller and the buyer.
The main benefit for both parties is that Sheep Ireland can produce a more accurate evaluation for that animal, allowing the buyer to place more confidence in the evaluation of the animal than ever before.
The average increase in the accuracy of a genomically tested ram is 15% to 20%.
Animals that have been genomically tested may also be verified to their sire or dam, or even both.
Currently, parentage recording errors are sitting at about 8% of sires, and DNA technology is allowing Sheep Ireland to correct those errors.
How does genomic testing work?
When a DNA result is returned from the laboratory, Sheep Ireland geneticists can delve deeper into the DNA of an animal to see exactly what genes the animal has inherited from its sire and dam.
In turn, this produces more accurate evaluations for that animal.
So far this year, over 2,000 ram lambs have been genomically tested, so finding a ram lamb that has been done should not be a problem using ramsearch.ie.
To summarise, when looking to purchase a ram with high indexes, look for a ram that has been genomically tested and, if possible, animals that are parentage-verified, as the evaluation for these animals is much more accurate.
The ram search and breeder search have a wealth of information available for sheep farmers, and can be found on www.ramsearch.ie or on the Sheep Ireland homepage (www.sheep.ie).
Rams can be searched based on breed, location, age and €uro-Star index value.
The Sheep Ireland directory of LambPlus breeders has a full list of LambPlus performance-recording breeders which is updated annually.
The majority of breed society sales will have €uro-Star evaluations included in their sales catalogues
The directory is posted out to all sheep farmers who choose to share their information with Sheep Ireland on the sheep census and a farmer can also request a directory directly from Sheep Ireland.
The majority of breed society sales will have €uro-Star evaluations included in their sales catalogues, but we would always recommend that you contact the relevant breed society in advance of any society ram sale to ensure that this is the case.
The Sheep Ireland multi-breed ram sale takes place on the fourth Saturday of August each year, with this year’s sale on 28 August in Kilkenny Mart.
A sales catalogue for the annual sale is available via the Sheep Ireland website approximately a week in advance of the sale.
The 2020 sale had 328 rams catalogued from nine different breeds with buyers coming from 24 different counties to purchase a ram.
Online bidding will be available for those not in a position to attend, with 14% of the rams being purchased online in 2020.
All rams in the sale must be rated five-star on the replacement or terminal index with a minimum accuracy of 50%.
This sale will offer over 300 rams for sale from multiple breeds and with 2020 prices ranging from €250 to €1,120
The rams for this year’s sale will all be genotyped and sire-verified and inspected by Sheep Ireland on arrival, all of which increases buyer confidence.
This sale will offer over 300 rams for sale from multiple breeds and with 2020 prices ranging from €250 to €1,120 (an average of €587), there will be a ram available for all budgets.