Sheep performance workshop at Roxburgh, near Kelso tomorrow (Thursday)

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Choosing a tup is choosing half the flock as the saying goes.

Promotional organisation, Quality Meat Scotland is holding a free ‘performance for profit’ workshop for sheep producers at Roxburgh Mains on Wednesday (September 4).

Katie Keiley, Scottish Sheep Strategy Development Officer (south), said: “The choice of tup will influence the number of lambs born, the conformation of those lambs, how fast they grow and the carcase quality of the end product. If you are looking to breed your own replacements, he will also influence the milkiness of his daughters and how prolific they are likely to be.”

Katie added: “Most importantly, once his genes are in your flock, you will rapidly see these traits multiply.”

The workshop is aimed at helping with the decision-making process in the run-up to the year’s ram sales - with one of the largest at Kelso on September 13 - and there will be discussion on the factors affecting the profitability of sheep farming.

Farmers will have the chance to look at different rams along with their performance figures and use that information to make an informed choice on the best ram for their flock.

A spokesperson for QMS said: “The workshop is aimed at all sheep farmers, whatever their system, looking to improve the output from their flock.”

Roxburgh Mains is farmed by John Elliot, who earlier this summer won the prestigious Sir William Young Award recognising dedication to the improvement of livestock production practices, and his son, also John. The farm at Roxburgh, near Kelso is home to the famous herd of 300 Rawburn Aberdeen Angus herd and the flock of 200 pedigree Texel and Suffolk ewes are within the top 10% of the breed when it comes to performance, and five out of the top ten Texel ram lambs this year were bred from the Roxburgh flock.

Mr Elliot said: “Genetics and ram selection have been a huge part of our business for so long here at Roxburgh Mains and due to performance recording, we have been able to have more control over the output of our flock.”

The workshop starts at 7.30pm. For more information, contact Katie Keiley or Michael Blanche at QMS on 0131 472 4039 or visit the website at www.scottishsheepstrategy.org.uk