International experts to gather for Sheep Breeders Round Table

Specialists from Norway and the USA are the latest to join a line-up of speakers at the 2015 Sheep Breeders Round Table.  

Organised by UK bodies AHDB Beef & Lamb, Signet Breeding Services, The National Sheep Association (NSA), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland, the biennial event is designed to educate anybody with an interest in sheep production with the chance to develop their knowledge into the industry.

With a theme entitled ‘Get better or get gone’, experts from overseas will deliver their international knowledge of breeding sheep.

“Genetic improvement has a massive impact on livestock production in terms of improving growth and carcase traits, maternal efficiency and animal welfare,” said Signet manager Samuel Boon. “And at a time when we are looking to reduce inputs, these genetic gains can reduce the carbon footprint of ruminant production.”

Norway was among a pioneering country to participate in co-operative breeding schemes. By working together, the schemes allowed producers to reach a common breeding goal. Thor Blichfeldt, head of breeding and AI for The Norwegian Association of Sheep and Goat Breeders, will present his experiences in this field to the audience.

Meanwhile, professor of animal breeding and genomics at the University of Nebraska, Ron Lewis, will be in attendance to discuss the challenges in improving sheep breeding in North America. He will also talk about their successes and future opportunities.

Learn, develop and network

“Ram breeding is a long-term business requiring us to plan ahead for the next five to 10 years,” explained ram breeder Robyn Hulme, who is excited to learn more at the upcoming event. “With a rapidly growing business we cannot stand still and therefore, it is important to have a view of where the sheep industry is going. Sheep Breeders Round Table is the ideal forum to do this, as well as learning more new industry developments and networking.”

Hulme continued: “The event also offers plenty of opportunities for me to talk in-depth to specialists, which has been really valuable for my business.”

The event is open to all and will take place on 20-22 November. The audience attracts farmers, vets, students, and anybody who has an interest in the industry. There will be a scientific poster competition aimed at students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. Businesses also have the option of sponsoring a young person, aged between 18 and 30, to attend the event.

Boon added: “The conference is a great opportunity for anyone involved in the sheep industry to learn, develop and network. Delegates that take this back to their business to make improvements will lead to a more efficient and productive UK flock.”

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