Alberta, Canada BLU member Jody McLean shares a photo of some of her 2 month old lambs produced by LAI from Myfyrian(B10) Blue Dragon E+, owned by Matt Drummond. Right now, this semen is only available for use in Canada, but the Blue Alliance has also purchased semen, and is working toward getting it imported to the US for the use of our membership. Jody is thrilled with her lambs. I can see why – look at the muscling on these 2 young rams!
This is a photo shared by Matt Drummond of Blue Dragon as a ram lamb. The breeder is Merfyn Roberts of the well regarded Myfyrian flock.
And here is Blue Dragon as an adult, being classified Elite Plus at the 2010 Penrith Progeny Show.
We are holding a meeting for those interested in hearing about the Bluefaced Leicester Association Performance Recording Scheme and our new “Performance Mule” initiative for the promotion of Mules sired by high index Bluefaced Leicester sires.
The “Performance Mule” initiative will help us supply the ever growing market for commercial ewes sired by high index rams that we are losing out on at the present time to our competitors.
This meeting is taking place at The Auctioneer, Borderway Mart, Carlisle on Tuesday 14th February, 2012 at 7.00p.m.
The main focus of the meeting will be a power point presentation given by Sam Boon of Signet this will be to show and discuss the benefits of Performance Recording in Bluefaced Leicester’s. We anticipate an increased demand for performance recorded Bluefaced Leicester’s with the launch of a recorded mule certification scheme.
We would encourage as many members as possible to attend this meeting.
If you would like to discuss this further please contact Matt Drummond on his mobile 07771934071 or contact myself on 07887 891678.
Breed Development Chairman
***A group of US breeders have imported semen from performance recorded rams from both Mr Roberts and Mr Drummond. The Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America encourages our members to use this data collected on UK rams as part of the criteria in selecting top sires for collection and import.
BLU board member Jared Lloyd was recently interviewed for a Sheep Industry News article. The article focuses on his flock expansion using Shetland and BFL genetics in a large western commercial flock. http://sheepindustrynews.org/?page=site%2Ftext&nav_id=3b79b0fae814183646395f41f85dc25e&archive_id
The Canadian Sheep Breeders Association Recognizes the Bluefaced Leicester For Registry in Canada
Written by Jody McLean
On June 8th 2011 the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association (CSBA) voted to recognize the Bluefaced Leicester and allow certain animals to be registered in Canada. This was the culmination of a lot of work for the few BFL breeders in Canada that felt this would be a step forward in getting the attention of Canadian sheep breeders.
In 2009 we asked CSBA to register our Canadian born lambs from ewes and rams that were registered with BLUNA. In order for them to do this, they had to first look at the US registration and vote to accept it or not. They decided not to; it was thought, because the first BFLs that were imported from Canada to the US were not registered, there was no way to prove their purebred status. Therefore CSBA could not accept the registry.
In the meantime CSBA did vote to accept the UK BFL registry and their breed standard. We thought why not ask the UK to register our ewes and rams. We can then go back to CSBA and ask again for the registry based on their acceptance of the UK registration.
Early in 2010 we approached Matt Drummond, who I’m sure you are all acquainted with. For those of you that are not, he is the owner of Cassington Farm and also sits on the board of directors of the BFL Sheep Breeders Association of Great Britain. We asked him to intercede for us in applying to register our animals in the UK. He brought our request to the next board meeting. It was voted on and accepted. We emailed our BLUNA pedigrees to the UK. They looked at them closely and voted to accept them. We were then issued certificates by email for our UK registrations.
This spring (2011) we approached CSBA and asked again to register our BFLs on the basis of our UK registrations. They were more than a little surprised that we would ask again and it was thought that more work would have to be done on this to ensure it was on the “up and up.” Stacey White, secretary for CSBA emailed Matt Drummond several times with many questions about their process in accepting our registrations. Matt Drummond’s answers were the only reason that in June at the next board meeting, it was decided that the CSBA could now accept our registrations.
It’s interesting to note that we can only register BFLs that are registered in the UK, but CSBA requires an extended pedigree (at least 5 generations.) The UK only provides 3. In order to get the 5 generations, we use the BLUNA certificates. So, in a round about way, they are accepting the BLUNA registrations with the exception of coloured animals. Because the UK doesn’t accept colour, neither will CSBA. All coloured BFLs will remain registered in the US and because of the colour issue we will continue to register all our lambs with BLUNA. Once we have a base of Canadian registered animals built, it will no longer be necessary to register them in the UK. At that point we will have a dual registry, US and Canadian.
We were asked by Stacey White (CSBA) to put together a Breed Description and a Breed Standard for the Canadian BFL. We mainly used a combination of the BLU breed standard and the UK’s with some small revisions. You can see this on the CSBA webpage at http://www.sheepbreeders.ca/breed_profiles/Bluefaced_Leicester.html
With the importation of 3 excellent rams from the UK and the Canadian registry accepted, we are well on the way to re-establishing the BFL in Canada. As sheep breeders, we have exciting times ahead. Many thanks to all that contributed.
This news from longtime Montana BFL breeder Judy Colvin:
Reporting in from our little Montana fiber festival, the Big Sky Fiber Arts Fest, held in Hamilton, MT.
The sheep show was held on June 11th and I brought a mix of registered BFLs and some BFL/Gotland crosses. The classes were divided into fine, medium, longwool, and primitive; and among the other breeds in the ring were Icelandic, Shetlands, Targhee, and Romney.
One of my BFL ram lambs took best fleece in the long wool division and eventually took Best in Show for the best fleece on an animal. I was really pleased. He is a triplet and a Gigrin Red Kite grandson. He’s heading to a new home in Idaho after the show.
By Lisa Rodenfels, Jared Lloyd and Kristen Barndt
If you would like to see EBV charts on some of the latest imported UK rams, please go to the IMPORTED RAMS page (under BREED INFO, and BFL RAMS). Links to the EBV charts for most of the 2010 imported sires are at the bottom of each ram’s entry.
A few EBV insights
EBV data is simply a tool to help you make choices for your flock and your needs. Use the data to select for what you need. It may depend on whether you are eating the lamb (lean at higher weights) or trying to raise the sheep and want an easy keeping ewe.
If you are selecting a ram for breeding replacements, you may want to choose a ram that has a moderate fat level. If you are selecting a terminal sire, then the one with low fat might be better.
For instance, since most Hill breeds put on fat easily and early, you may want to select a ram with moderate fat numbers to produce your Mules so that the Mule wethers don’t get too fat at too young an age, and so that his Mule daughters get a moderate amount of fat cover.
It is likely that shepherds in colder climates may want higher fat numbers than would shepherds in more moderate climates, or in flocks that are managed more closely – fed grain and have access to a barn in winter.
Everything in moderation, and select for what you want and need. Another example is the Suffolk lines that are used for club lambs, which have been selected for very low fat depth. These lines excel at staying very lean no matter how old the lambs get, and how fast or slowly they are grown out. However, the ewes need to be fed very well, or they don’t do well. This type of ewe would never do well on a farm with minimal input, grazing native Kentucky 31 pastures year round.
We’ll want to be cautious about how much muscling we develop on our BFLs – balancing that with milking ability. Think about the carcass qualities of the dairy goat and cow and you can see how milk production and carcass quality are diametrically opposed. So these two traits must be balanced to keep from going too far to one side or the other.
In the context of balancing carcass and dairy characteristics, the Longwool Index Project and the Sire Reference Scheme (SRS) programs were developed in the UK with this concern in mind. The progressive UK breeders we are now working with are enrolled in these programs. Our progressive US flockmasters will be able to take advantage of the rams these programs are producing. See links below for information on the SRS and Longwool Index.
For the most part, you’d like to see all of the graphs in an EBV chart leaning to the right (positive values), except possibly for fat and muscle depth, depending on what decisions you are making.
EBVs: only one part of the whole picture
EBVs should be only one tool in your selection and planning. Seeing an animal, looking at conformation, general health and vitality, fleece quality, and seeing how the animal moves are all immensely important. An EBV chart by itself can’t show you foot quality and health, fleece characteristics, a less-than-excellent bite, testicle size, temperament and many other important attributes.
Info to help further your understanding of EBVs
Basic understanding of EBVs
Go to this link for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (UK) basic explanation of EBVs.
Go to this link for NSIP basic explanation of EBVs.
Go to this link for an NSIP presentation on EBVs.
Presentations at Ohio Sheep Day 2010: Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock
Key Presenters at Ohio Sheep Day 2010 included Dr. David Thomas from the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Kreg Leymaster from the US Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, and Dr. David Notter from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Go to this link, and then click on the individual presentations to view:
Basics of Sheep Breeding for Commercial Flocks, by Dr. David Thomas
Building a Ewe Flock, by Dr. Kreg Leymaster
Selection and Crossbreeding Systems for Dairy Sheep, by Dr. Thomas
Selecting Your Next Terminal Sire Ram, by Dr. David Notter
All of these presentation are in MS PowerPoint. If you do not have PowerPoint, you may download MS PowerPoint Viewer for free; go to this link to download it.
Longwool Index info
Introductory 2004 article from Hybu Cig Cymru, New Longwool Index a Boost to Welsh Breeders (PDF)
Informative Hybu Cig Cymru PDF file on Practical Sheep Breeding explains EBVs, breeding in a stratified sheep industry, and the Index programs, including the Longwool Index.
Sire Reference Scheme (SRS) info
Sheep Sire Referencing Schemes (PDF) article by G. Simm and N.R. Wray, The Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh
Older Bluefaced Leicester Sire Reference Scheme brochure (PDF) from Signet with graphics
Go to this link for an excellent article at Farmer’s Weekly Interactive (UK):
EBVs are icing on the cake, by Jeremy Hunt
Select rams based on both good conformation and positive traits seen during a visual inspection, as well as their “figures” (EBVs)
After a few of us saw (and drooled over) a photo of a ram named “Scotty” all the way back during New York State Sheep & Wool Festival 2007… straws from UK Bluefaced Leicester ram Mossvale Masterplan 1463/X6 E+ have finally been imported this year by Martin Dally of Super Sire, Ltd.!
Jared Lloyd was fortunate to see Masterplan during his 2009 trip to the UK. Jared wrote in his notes: “Mossvale Masterplan – Phil May (Derwenlas) and Phil Davies (Gornal). Martin is already dealing with them; they’re incredible people. Mr. Davies has a renowned dairy herd, and Mr. May is a rep/tech for ABS Global/Genus. Anyway, Masterplan is a heckuva tup! Tremendous body and easy keeping, his daughters are superb for those traits…. So, we’ll buy this semen from Martin. Masterplan didn’t break his leg, but there was a mistake with the paperwork.”
A few years ago there was a rumor that circulated briefly here, that on the way to the collection station, Masterplan had an accident getting out of a truck and broke a front leg. From whence it came, we have no idea, but many of us who were looking forward to the import were upset, thinking that this magnificent ram had to be destroyed.
Turns out the rumors were UNTRUE and that Mossvale Masterplan was alive and well… and that there was no accident… only some paperwork malfunctions! Were we ever relieved to hear that news! In the years to come, there will always be stories like this one to retell whenever we get together to share our memories… “Hey, remember the time that… !”
We’re so pleased to have this UK ram’s genetics available to us here in North America. He joins a great list of other UK rams whose straws entered the country this year. Please contact Super Sire, Ltd. at www.toprams.com for more information.
Mossvale Masterplan 1463/X6 E+ (also known as “Scotty”)
Sire: Walton Golden Eye 468/W7 E+ [RR]
Dam’s Sire: Jerriestown 567/N1 E+ [RR]
Codon markers: ARR/ARR
Breeder: A. & J. Minnis
Importer/Year: Super Sire, Ltd., 2010
Here is a photo of one of Masterplan’s sons from the UK, bred by Phil May, Derwenlas flock.
Derwenlas 3822/Z2 E+
By Heather Landin, Cedar Fen Farm, Baldwin, WI
Originally published in the newsletter BLU Print; October 2010 issue, Vol. 1, No. 3
Additional content/edits by Kristen Barndt for this version
A group of BFL Union Members from both the US and Canada pulled together last fall with a group of UK breeders to figure out how to solve a problem that was looming in the Bluefaced Leicester breed in North America. There simply was not a sufficiently varied genetic base to continue to grow the population of BFLs and broaden its appeal as a commercially viable breed in North America. More bloodlines were needed.
Jared Lloyd got the whole project started by traveling to the UK in 2009 to learn more about our breed. His 20-day whirlwind tour and introduction to some of the best of the UK BFL stock was invaluable to this project. When he arrived back a loose group of people began comparing notes and figuring out which rams would best complement the sheep we already had.
The group includes Carol Densmore, Robina Koenig, Margaret Fryatt, Margaret VanCamp, Lisa Rodenfels, LeeAnne Richert, Kris Barndt, Kelly Ward, Kathy Davidson, Judy Colvin, Jody McLean, Jared Lloyd, Janice Lever, Heather Landin, Garrett Ramsey, Becky Utecht, and Jolene Vezzetti.
In the UK we have been fortunate enough to work with Jo Binns, Matt Drummond, Phil Davies, Maldwyn Davies, Elfyn Owen, and Martyn Archer among the larger group of BFL breeders that showed Jared their hospitality and worked with him to identify excellent stock for possible import to North America.
Martin Dally and the staff at Innovis were also critical to the success of the project, contributing their expertise and advice. Without all these people’s participation and investment of time, energy, and money the project would not have come together. It’s been a learning adventure. After a couple of false starts and some problems getting viable semen collected and shipped, the project started to come together around Christmas 2009.
Some of the UK breeders had voluntarily taken their rams in for collection on the group’s word they would purchase. Some were waiting for firmer commitments and the season was already late for collection. Investors were not sure what they needed to invest. Spread sheets on costs were finally pulled together with the help of Helene Garnham at Innovis. Checks came in, the last rams were collected, health checks finished and after much paperwork, the US straws collected from six different rams arrived in the US a couple weeks ago in time for fall breeding.
There are extra straws for anyone who would like to purchase straws now they are safely stored in the US. Canada is bringing their straws in next year with two years’ worth of collections all in one shipment. We hope to bring several more rams to the US next year, also.
The six rams represent a variety of qualities and a range of bloodlines that we hope will compliment the North American flock. Extra straws are available to any breeders enrolled in the USDA scrapie certification program from three of these rams, and straws from two more are available on a limited basis. There will also be breeding stock with these bloodlines available next year from Blue Alliance investors doing AI this fall. If you are interested in straws, please contact Heather Landin at Cedar Fen Farm.
Llwygy Black Mountain 1706/B67
Sire: Edgton 3945/A2, by Kilfaddoch 3757/W7 E+
Dam: Llwygy 1706/W15, by Firth 1574/R1
Born 5/3/09; Twin; ARR/ARR
Scan Weight: 3.68 (BFL Top 10%)
Muscle Depth: 1.15 (BFL Top 25%)
A dark colored ram from Jo Binn’s Great Llwygy farm in Monmouthshire, Wales. Jo breeds with a strong emphasis on performance. His rams are chosen for their EBVs and suitability as crossing rams while still keeping to the traditional BFL standard for type. He brings a fantastic pedigree to the lines carrying color in the North American flock.
Additional notes; He’s a big, powerful black lamb who is four-square and wide made. He is skeletally correct and his bite is perfect. He has a long, wide pelvis with good angle. Legs and locomotion are correct. His fleece is dense, fine and lustrous with great handle and deep color. Straws of this ram available for purchase.
Myfyrian Trueblue 1183/B13 E+
Sire: Cernyw 1070/Y1 E+, by Cernyw 1070/T1
Born 3/1/09; Twin; ARR/ARR
Total index: top 4%
Scanning wt. kgs: top 1%
8 week kgs: top 1%
Mature size: top 1%
Maternal ability: top 1%
Muscle depth scan: top 3%
Owned by Phil Davies, he has proven himself to be a superior sire in his first year breeding. Phil says he produced a fine crop of lambs that grew exceptionally well on grass. Coming from the Myfyrian flock with a sire like Cernyw Y1 E+ speaks for itself. This is a super ram and a great addition to the US flock book.
Phil Davies says, “He has an exciting index, putting him in the top few young rams for total index in the UK, being in the top 4%. His scanning weight kgs in the top 1%. 8 week kgs in the top 1%, and mature size in the top 1%. Maternal ability in the top 1%, but more importantly this is combined with a muscle depth scan in the top 3%. His sire Y1 Cernyw Elite plus has turned out an exceptional breeding ram with great scanning results of his progeny but has also bred many show winning animals dominating progeny shows in Wales.” There are straws of this ram available.
Grugoer Welshman 2188/B1
Sire: Cernyw 1070/Y1 E+, by Cernyw 1070/T1
Dam: Grugoer 2188/X50, by Myfyrian 1183/T8
Born 1/1/09; Twin; ARR/ARR
EBVs (9/15/2009, as lamb):
Scanning wt. kgs: top 1%
8 week kgs: top 10%
Mature size: top 5%
Maternal ability: top 1%
Litter size: top 2%
Maldwyn Davies says, “He (Grugoer B1) was second in the show and sale in Builth Wells; B1 did also win every show that he went to in North Wales.” Used by both Llwygy flock and Maldwyn Davies flock in fall 2009, he will be used again by both as, according to Jo Binns, “he threw lambs with exceptional colour.” Maldwyn is very pleased with the quality of the lambs he throws. Maldwyn was one of the original supporters of the Longwool index. There are straws of this ram available.
Llwygy 1706/X1 E+
Sire: Firth 157/R1, by Walton 468/P4 E
Born 2/3/05; Twin, ARR/ARR
This high-performing ram is a Welshpool reference ram. Lisa Rodenfels has brought in a very small number of straws to try on her flock and will hopefully have lambs to offer in the next few years from his line.
The following two rams are available for in very limited quantities under special conditions. They are both older rams belonging to Martyn Archer and are the sires of many show champions from Martyn’s Carry House flock. We hope to see lambs from these rams available in future years.
Heddon Valley 3246/X4
Sire: Bowder 708/W1, by Red Cottage 1510/V3
Dam: Beeston 3138/R34, by Eskley 2634/N1 ‘A’
Martyn Archer comments, “He (Heddon Valley) is probably the most consistent breeder we have used with his lambs of a very uniform type. Their breed character and style are outstanding with very good mouths, ears, top lines and legs. He hasn’t grown into a big tup – he was small and stylish when I bought him but his progeny are much bigger.”
A son, 281/Z1 was the top priced traditional type ram sold in 2007. Champion and top price at the 2007 Hexham sale was from Martin Archer, Carry House, with a ram lamb which sold for the day’s top price of 1900 gns. Please note that Eskley 2634/N1 ‘A’ is Beeston Titan’s and Gigrin Red Kite’s grandsire.
Sire: Rosehill 209/W1, by Barlaes Titus 2217/T5 E+
Dam: Ladybank 3746/S26, by Cocklaw 119/P6, by Pennine 78/L1
Born 2006; Twin; ARR/ARR
Jared took pictures of some very impressive daughters by this ram at Carry House. Please note that Barlaes Titus is this ram’s grandsire. Titus is already a US sire.