NSA Urges Farmers To Contribute in Ram Longevity Study
In pursuit of answers around the working life and cost of rams in commercial sheep flocks, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is urging sheep farmers contribute a little of their time to a study to find out the facts.
NSA is facilitating a team of expert sheep consultants to carry out a project to investigate the longevity of rams in commercial flocks. The project has two main elements – a short, online survey to gather views from a large number of producers, coupled with more in-depth focus group meetings of 10 producers each held at different locations around the UK.
Independent sheep consultant Lesley
Stubbings is one of those
involved. She says:
“This study is a great opportunity for us to pin down some actual data on how long rams are lasting on commercial farms. The aim is to gather information on how we can improve their longevity and reduce costs per lamb reared as a result. Ultimately, we want farmers to not only get the most out of their investment but also feel confident they can pay for improved genetics and know it will pay dividends over the lifetime of the ram.
“To achieve this we need help from commercial farmers and are asking individuals to get involved by completing the quick online survey or get involved through local focus groups. So why not volunteer to join myself or one of my colleagues for a discussion around the data collected so far? Afterwards we can continue to chew over other topics while enjoying a hot supper.”
Sheep farmers with more than 200 commercial breeding ewes and at least two years’ worth of ram purchase information are eligible to take part in the focus group meetings, with several still to be held in England and Scotland.
Fredrick, a sheep farmer
from Penshurst, Kent, is one person who’s already taken part and
enjoyed the experience. He says:
“The focus group was a really interesting evening and I would recommend anyone who is buying rams to get involved in a session if they can. Without knowledge from projects like this, we cannot gauge what is really going on. It was useful to hear about the practices of other farmers in my local area, and will hopefully be a way to improve ram buyer and seller relationships in the future.”
James Evans, a sheep
farmer in Lydbury North, Shropshire, says:
“I had an enjoyable evening at the focus group. It was especially nice to realise that a lot of the problems I’ve experienced are actually shared by many other farmers in similar situations. The project is in its early days, but it is a good way to voice an opinion and hopefully we’ll see the benefits in the future.”