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Preparing for Tupping Time
Analysing Signet and Sheep Ireland data and making breeding decisions on the genetic evaluation results. This is the time to import Sheep Ireland and Signet data to Select Sheepware. There’s a specific menu option in the Sheep Ireland website to produce a TGM file. That’s the file with the star valuations formatted in a way for easy import to Select Sheepware. TGM advises exercising caution when deciding whether or not to cull a ewe based solely on Sheep Ireland or Signet data. This data is for improving breeding and should be used, in conjunction with on farm performance results, to decide which lambs should be retained as replacements. It should not be used to for culling decisions unless you are a pedigree breeder and want to cull sheep with low indices. For example, if your own management data indicates that a sheep has had twins three years in a row, that the total 90 day weight put her in the top 20% of your flock from a performance perspective, you may not want to cull that sheep on the basis of either low Sheep Ireland stars or low Signet index. It could be one of the best performing sheep in your flock. The best decisions are made when using both on farm performance reports and the Sheep Ireland stars and / or Signet indices. Select Sheepware puts all these values onto one report so you can filter and select on the basis of both genetic evaluation and real on farm performance.
August is a good time to get your rams sorted in the software and newly purchased rams should be entered. When recording the purchase, apart from entering the identity details – tag number, breed etc, remember to select ‘Used For Breeding’ and ‘In Use’, otherwise the software won’t know these are breeding rams and they won’t be listed. Making decisions on rams which you already have. This is the time to review the ram performance reports. The rams with the highest 90 day lamb weights are those which are producing the highest growth rate lambs and those lambs will be the first to market. However, when reviewing ram performance, number of lambs born per birth must also be considered. A ram with 1 lamb born per birth and average 90 day weight of the lambs is 45 kg is not as good as a ram with 2 lambs born per birth where the average 90 day weight is 40 kg. As with all software, Select Sheepware is a recording tool which does the maths to produce the reports, but the user needs to interpret the reports properly. If you’re recording with Sheep Ireland or Signet, then the star and index values should also be included in the decision process.
Select Sheepware works on the basis of Sire groups, not individual sires. A sire group may have 1 sire or it could have more than 1 sire where multiple tups go out with rams simultaneously. If you need help setting up your sire groups, please contact TGM well in advance of when your rams are due to go out. If you haven’t got you sire groups set up and hence they’re not listed in the Agrident Reader in the tupping recording task, don’t panic. Start a new group on the reader, scan the sheep into the group and give us a call. The Sire Groups can be set up after the event and the animals in the tag group linked to the Sire group. It’s quicker and easier if the animals are linked directly to the Sire Group in the reader in the tupping recording task, but they can also be linked to the Sire Group later in the software if the animals just get read into a group.