Genetic Improvement 

Genetic_Improvement_1.jpgBy utilising the best genetics available, herd and flock performance and profitability can be significantly improved. There is also a strong link between improved herd and flock genetics and lowered GHG emissions.

Rearing more livestock that grow quicker and meet market requirements would mean that the GHG emission per kg of lamb and beef produced would be reduced while also increasing production efficiency.

Buying performance recorded stock with traits known to enhance production is an objective that every farmer should aim for, if done correctly the use of stock with high performance figures is the single most effective tool for increasing economic returns and the efficiency of livestock production. The table below shows the performance traits to select for when choosing a bull – similar information is available for sheep in the HCC publication – 'Ram Buyer’s Guide'.


There are various performance traits that can be used for improved production i.e growth, conformation, litter size etc. The important thing is to understand the traits that will enhance production given the constraints that are in place for every individual farm; for example the importance of buying rams with high eight week weight figures is more on a lowland farm lambing in late-January than a hill farm lambing in mid-April.

  • Ram Buyer's Guide

    This booklet provides the reader with an understanding of how to select rams on performance figures. By selecting on performance figures and utilising the best genetics available, flock performance and profitability can be improved.

  • Bull Buyer's Guide

    This booklet outlines how to assess a bull’s genetic potential and ensure that the right genetics are purchased to meet the farm’s requirements.

  • Reducing Methane Emissions through Improved Lamb Production

    This booklet provides information on how livestock contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and it considers practical solutions to reducing emissions from sheep production.

  • Breed Improvement Funding

    This booklet outlines the funding opportunities available through HCC for breed improvement. It also includes the application forms and details for applying for this funding.

  • Profitable Beef Breeding

    This booklet concentrates on those aspects of production that are closely linked to profitability; bull selection, herd fertility, herd health, calf management and replacement policy.

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