With tupping time approaching for many sheep farmers, producers are being advised to conduct health checks and make the best use of data at ram sales this autumn.
Sean Jeffreys, programme officer for Hybu Cig Cymru, says: “When attending sales, make use of data and information to hand.
“Relying on looks will only get you so far, but using estimated breeding values [EBVs] will allow farmers to buy rams suitable to their own systems and situations.
“Fat depth and muscle depth EBVs can tell farmers much more about meat yield than any visual judgement.”
In addition to making use of information and data available, Mr Jeffreys also recommends physical assessments of rams to ensure they are in the best working condition possible.
Mr Jeffreys says: “It is important to carry out full health checks so any issues can be identified and resolved before putting tups out to ewes.
“Ewes and rams should be body condition scored and, when carrying out a ram MOT, the three key areas of concern are the three Ts – toes, teeth and testicles.”
He adds it is also important to quarantine new rams when they join a new farm and understand what type of system they have been produced in and adapt their nutrition accordingly.
Rams reared on a high concentrate diet may benefit from being quarantined on grass with a gradual weaning of concentrates.
Mr Jeffreys says: “Putting rams straight to work from a sale can cause an overload of stress, especially combined with a lack of good nutrition leading up to mating.”