UK trade bodies conduct sheep breed survey

14 December, 2012

Sheep producers in the UK are being asked to take part in the largest sheep breed survey since 2003.

The survey is part of a new Signet initiative, funded by trade bodies Eblex and Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

According to the two organisations, the survey will cover a range of subjects including the breeds sheep producers keep, to what forage crops they use and what month is the most popular for selling lambs. The survey will also provide insight into how the sheep industry has evolved over the years.

Eblex and HCC hope results from the survey will give a “regionalised” picture of sheep producers’ behaviour, as well as providing industry organisations with information that will help to enhance the support they offer.

Livestock scientist for Eblex Poppy Frater said: “The breeding structure of the industry continues to change as we strive to become more efficient and keep up with changing consumer demands.

“We have therefore reinstated the tradition of the sheep breed survey so we can get a clear picture of the state of the UK industry in 2012.

“Most UK sheep farmers will have received a questionnaire and we would urge everyone to complete and return it, so that the results are as accurate and robust as possible.”

Sheep breed surveys have been carried out intermittently between 1971 and 2003, and have provided information on how ewe and ram breeds have changed. The 2003 survey documented new breeds unrecorded in previous surveys, a decline in farm, flock and sheep numbers, and a rise in popularity of continental and crossbred ewes.

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