Want to know more about breeding in general and performance recording in  particular? Join us at this year’s Performance Recording Workshop at The Marriot Hotel, Edinburgh, EH12 8NF on Saturday 7th October starting at 10am. (close to the airport for anyone wishing to fly in).

We have invited some great speakers to join us to discuss genetics and how we can use them to improve our flocks and to talk about what we should aim to produce to satisfy commercial and processor needs.

Dr Jo Connington, a leading livestock geneticist from the Roslin Institute

Sam Boon and Emma Steele from AHDB

Emily Grant Knowledge Transfer Specialist from Quality Meat Scotland

In addition to presentations from our speakers, there will be a Question Time session where you can put your questions to them and in the afternoon a practical sessions for both novice and experienced breeders.

Lunch is included and the total cost will be £15/delegate

Places are limited so book yours quickly! To book your place, please email Janet


A further opportunity to meet, talk and learn is on the 17th November when we will be holding a Q and A session after the first afternoon of the Sheepbreeders Roundtable . For more information about the conference:- Book your place and then let us know that you want to join our HDBSA session.


NATIONAL TRAINING WEEKEND - a sharing of knowledge & ideas

The first ever National Training weekend was held at the end of April in Lincolnshire, and what a success it was.  With almost 50 members attending, there was a perfect mix of wisdom and young enthusiasm in the company with everyone benefiting from the presentations and the social opportunity to share and discuss ideas and knowledge.


Saturday morning began with a trimming demonstration by Jim Cresswell.  This was the first time for many to see the master at work, but those of us who have seen it all before continue to be amazed at the skill of his well-placed snips to produce a model sheep. 

Things then got technical with Judith Galbraith giving two veterinary lectures on feeding and endoparasite control.  Using the ‘ham sandwich’ as an example, she emphasised the importance of balancing protein and energy and how the rumen and ‘friendly bugs’ have to be fed in balance.  Giving careful thought to the source of this energy and protein, the take-home message was to feed grass and forage, know your target intake, and balance accordingly with supplementation.  The only way to put a balanced ration together is to know the analysis of your hay or silage and to sample it each year, likewise an understanding of your pasture and the length and quality of grass on the ground is important.  Grass on the ground is the most beneficial and cost-effective way of producing young-stock.  The afternoon veterinary presentation covered worm resistance and effective use of anthelmintics.

The stock judging competition, won by newcomer Zac Blackmore, was followed by a discussion of faults and what we are looking for in a correct sheep.  It was also an opportunity to discuss judging priorities with some of the Panel members present.

In the afternoon Nick from Sunnysideup Farm Shop, owned by Hampshire Breeders Hazel & Julian Hammond, gave an entertaining and enlightening butchery demonstration using a new season Hampshire lamb and a commercial lamb where the depth of muscle of the Hampshire and quality of the meat was clear to see against the commercial lamb which had probably taken very much longer to reach target condition. 

With such a packed day with listening and talking and learning, perhaps the memory that many will take home with them is ‘food glorious food’.  The hospitality of Tim and Judith Hunter and organisation by Jim Birkwood and Jane who helped backstage in the kitchen, was outstanding with an endless supply of hot meals and baking all day long.  Then on Sunday morning the hospitality continued with many staying on to visit the Normanby Flock where we were hosted by the Brant family on their stunning farm set on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds with far reaching views to Lincoln Cathedral and beyond.  Their March born lambs were on display out at pasture and a pen of high performance shearling rams in the shed.  Finally the weekend drew to a close with hospitality from Simon Williams and his family with drinks and lunch in the sunshine on the lawns at Croxby Hall.


We are looking forward to the first ever NATIONAL TRAINING WEEKEND - this weekend!  A good number of members have already booked their place, but if you have forgotten to do so or find yourself available to come along, there are spaces for just a few more.  Contact Janet (details below) - you would be very welcome.

(and Eastern Counties Spring Meeting)


22nd/23rd April 2017

WORKSHOPS, DISCUSSIONS, DEMOS - Nut Tree Farm, Fotherby, Lincolnshire home of the LINDSEY FLOCK, by kind invitation of Tim & Judith Hunter   -   10.00 am START

PREPARING YOUR SHEEP FOR SALE — Jim Cresswell,  Selection (Shape, growth, condition, skin),   Presentation & Trimming


PRODUCING FIT FOR PURPOSE SHEEP—Judith Galbraith, Nutrition & Feeding, Condition Scoring

JUDGING, What the Judge is looking for, Stock Judging Competition

(HDSBA Panel of Judges will also be meeting this weekend, so it will be a good opportunity to meet and talk)

CARCASE QUALITY— A view of our sheep from the inside. Discussion and demonstration by Master Butcher

SUNDAY:  FARM VISITS to the Brant family to see their Normanby Flock, Limousin Cattle and Lleyn Sheep, and to Karen Hames’ Rennisons Flock—a young flock making early progress.




Hampshire Down Ireland held a highly successful, enjoyable, educating and entertaining Open Day on 8th April kindly hosted by Kevin and Anna McCarthy at Mossbank Farm home of the Ballycreelly Flock, attended by a number of new breeders and a contingent across from Belgium for the Weekend.

Health and Presentation were the main themes, with visitors having the opportunity to see the 2017 Ballycreelly crop of lambs and Stock Ewes whilst watching David Fletcher’s trimming for shows demonstration.  His brother Jonathan then discussed worming, dosing and correct use of anthelmintics.

Neil Acheson of Animax attended with his stand, to allow all breeders to discuss the use and the advantages of bolusing your sheep with demonstration by Kevin and Sean Doyle on correct blousing technique.

Ram Selection discussions were led by Olive Mercer, Sean Doyle and Allen McFadden, before the whole day was brought to conclusion with a lovely spring lamb BBQ, raffle and live Irish Music well in to the night.


We’d like to encourage members going to Welsh Sheep to enter the Pairs of Hogg/yearling ewe show and sale which will be held at NSA Welsh Sheep on Tuesday 16th May 2017 at Llwynbedw, Talybont on Usk, Brecon.

This will be a great opportunity to show off our breed and would welcome members with good quality stock to exhibit.

Sale Details and Rules HERE  Sale Entry Form HERE


Hampshire Downs on the BBC

Many of you will have seen the trailers appearing on TV for the latest of the BBC's farming programmes.  A new series called The Farmers Country Showdown starts on Monday 13th February and will feature Hampshire Down Breeders and HDSBA Council Member Jonathan Barnard together with his wife Justine of the Stourfield Flock.  This new series runs every week day on BBC 1 at 3.45pm for 3 weeks and the Hampshire Down episode  is being shown on Thursday 23rd February.  If you are out and about and can't catch daytime TV, then remember to set your TV to Record.. 

Gearing Up for 2017

With lots of 2017 season lambs now on the ground anticipation is beginning for the coming season.  A very important part of the Hampshire Down Calendar is attendance at the National Sheep Association Sheep Events throughout the country.  If you've never been to one, check out your nearest event and go along - it really is a fascinating day out no matter how great or small your knowledge of sheep is.  Even better, volunteer to do a stint and help out on the Hampshire Down Stand.  The Stands are all booked now, and we can confirm we will be attending: WELSHSHEEP 16th May, Brecon; HIGHLANDSHEEP 31st May, Ross-shire; NORTHSHEEP 7th June, Co Durham; SHEEPSOUTHWEST 20th June, Devon and SHEEPNORTHERNIRLELAND 3rd July Ballymena. - See You There! 



Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY



Jim, Ann & Jonathan Fletcher, LOUGHAN MOSS



1st Tony McGrath, CLOGHERNY

2nd Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY

3rd Danny McAleese, AGIVEY



1st Tony McGarth, CLOGHERNY

2nd Danny McAleese, AGIVEY

3rd Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY



1st Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY

2nd Hannah Robinson, BALLYVESTER

2nd  Messers A Whitley & M&P Brittian,  ELDRON

3rd Sean & Gillian Doyle, LOUGHBRAE



1st Kevin & Anna McCarthy, BALLYCREELY

2nd Jim, Ann & Jonathan Fletcher, LOUGHAN MOSS

3rd Peter Lawson, GLENBROOK



1st Kevin & Anna McCarthy, BALLYCREELY

2nd Peter Lawson, GLENBROOK



1st Jim, Ann & Jonathan Fletcher, LOUGHAN MOSS

2nd Tony McGrath, DungannonCLOGHERNY

3rd Messers A Whitley & M&P Brittian, Co.Meath, ELDRON



1st Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY

2nd Hannah Robinson, BALLYVESTER

3rd Rodney Wilson, AIMNEY



1st Rodney Wilson, AIMNEY

2nd Danny McAleese, AGIVEY



Allen & Vicky McFadden, ASHLEY



Messers A Whitley & M&P Brittian, ELDRON


Enthusiastic Audience At Performance Recording Workshop

This was a busy, informative and enjoyable day for the 40 breeders who travelled to Stratford Auction market to take part.  We were lucky to have been joined by no less than 4 members of the Signet team:- Sam Boon Manager,  Stephen West and Emma Steele Specialist Breeding Advisors and Stuart Frizell arecently appointed Signet Technician.

 The day started with 4 presentations by Sam and Stephen. (If you missed the workshop or want refreshers– don’t worry the power point slides will be made available on the Signet website soon and more in depth summaries will be provided in future newsletters). Stephen kicked off by explaining how performance recording works and looking at the massive strides the breed has made over the last 15 years. He then went on to discuss inbreeding and its effects on performance.  His final presentation explained how breeders can look at the implications of proposed matings using the inbreeding calculator on Basco. He stressed that good, accurate data provided on time is important for the success of the analysis and asked especially for breeders to supply shearling ewe weights as this data is vital for accurate mature size EBV’s and breeders aren’t very good at providing it at present (red faces all round!). 

Sam Boon started by looking at CT scanning and how it improves the accuracy of performance recording. CT scanning provides predictions of lean meat yield that are >90% accurate compared with on farm scanning which is 70% accurate. The unit at Edinburgh have purchased a new mobile scanner and it is hoped that this will allow easier access for CT scanning for a larger number of breeders.  Sam went onto update the audience about AHDB’s Ram compare project. This is now entering the second tupping season with most of the slaughter data available from last year’s lamb crop. The 3 farmers who have been using Hamps have been pleased with their results and one ram known as ’Tufty’ even appears regularly on twitter. No results will be published for the trial until 2017 but with a few exceptions the rams are performing as would have been predicted from their EBV’s. 

In his ‘now and the future’ presentation, Sam looked at possible changes to the analysis and new EBVs that are likely to become available in the near future. 

 Recent work has suggested that correcting muscle depth and fat depth values for weight rather than age will provide more accurate EBV’s. Other trials have also found that scanning lambs earlier than 20 weeks can give equally accurate results provided the lambs are at least 30-40kgs. 

 Additionally, Signet are aiming to produce a combined breed evaluation in 2018 to provide EBV’s and indices that will be comparable across several breeds. This will have implications for breeders in that some of the calculations used to produce our final index may be altered slightly so that all the terminal sire breed indices are calculated in the same way.  All these changes will inevitably mean some re ranking of individuals within the breed and breeders should be prepared for some alterations in individual animal’s EBV’s and Indices in the next 2-3 years.

 Signet are also working on EBV’s for spine length based on CT results and lambing ease and birthweight. It was great to see that the vast majority of Hamps are born with little or no assistance.

 The morning finished with aQ and A session covering sire reference schemes, the challenges of providing EBVs for killing out %, feed conversion rate, lameness and daggyness.

 During lunch Stephen and Sam discussed individual flocks with breeders looking at their average EBVs For individual traits and where they sat within the breed. This was an interesting benchmarking exercise. After a delicious lunch, there were 2 practical sessions using the ramlambs kindly brought a long by breeders. Sam and Stephen demonstrated back fat scanning and discussed how to use EBV’s in ram selection. Judith Lee our tame vet demonstrated how to do basic fertility examination of rams, looked at common reasons for infertility and discussed the disease risks of bringing animals into your flock.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in making the day possible especially the team from Signet, the breeders who brought rams and the attendees who travelled from 4 countries!!


RAM COMPARE OPEN DAY 3rd November Thistleyhaugh Farm, Morpeth

Thistleyhaugh Farm, Long Horsley, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 8RG 1pm - 4pm

Join AHDB Beef & Lamb for an event at Thistleyhaugh Farm, which is one of the six commercial farms that are involved in RamCompare project. 

RamCompare is the UK’s first commercial progeny test which will aim to test 67 terminal sires from five breeds (Texel, Charollais, Suffolk, Hampshire and Meatlinc) over two years.  The first crop of lambs from the RamCompare rams were born at Thistleyhaugh Farm this spring and have been slaughtered through Randall Parker Foods.  This event coincides with the second year of tupping and is a good opportunity to learn more about the project.


1.00pm            Arrival and registration

 1.15pm            Introductions – Liz Genever, AHD

1.20pm            What is RamCompare? – Samuel Boon, AHDB

1.40pm            Introduction to Thistleyhaugh Farm – Duncan Nelless, Host / Bridget Lloyd, AHDB

1.45pm            Farm walk to look at the RamCompare ewes in single sire groups

3.30pm            Questions & Answers

4.00pm            End with refreshments

To register your FREE place ring the AHDB KE Events office on 01904 771211 or email