The North York Moors Swaledale Breeders are a group of upland farmers who are looking to improve the carcase traits of their Swaledale sheep flocks. The group have secured EIP AGRI funding through the: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), administered by Defra, and with the support of AHDB Beef & Lamb, to set up what is known as an Operational Group. For more information see the EIP AGRI website.
The aims of the project is as follows:
- Develop new ways of data collection and new and novel data sets that can be used in genetic evaluations for hill sheep carcase traits through the use of EID, weighing/measuring, CT and ultrasound scanning technologies that suit hill farmers and hill farming systems.
- Develop existing ultrasound scanning technologies designed to measure muscle depth across the loin to provide a measure of total muscle area.
- Identify Swaledale sheep with better carcase traits (loin, hind leg and shoulder) and use them within a breeding programme to improve carcase quality and consistency.
- Take lambs from the breeding programme and assess them through trialling finishing systems, including novel management practices, and through using alternative forages (roots, legumes, protein crops) and different diets
Progress reports and presentations can be found here when available :