The Performance Recorded Lleyn Group
In early 2014 a group of progressive like-minded flocks spread across the UK established the Performance Recorded Lleyn Group (PRLG) to use performance recording and genetics to improve net margins in our sheep businesses. Initially 24 Lleyn flocks, the PRLG are seeking to encourage the movement of genetic material between flocks (rams, semen, embryos) to improve linkage and hence the accuracy of EBV’s.
During the autumn of 2014, we participated in a new research project led by Professor Mike Stear at Glasgow Veterinary School. His work has shown that the detection of the levels of an anti-parasitic antibody is a better indicator of resistance to worm infection than Faecal Egg Counts (FEC). This initially led him to develop a saliva test for the antibody. This research subsequently refocused on the more robust metric of analysing blood serum IgA. We now have over 3 years of data with 3000 points from 6 different PRLG flocks across the country. The analysis is exciting as it has shown there to be over 35% heritability – an unusually high heritable factor.
With the help of the Farm Innovation Grant, PRLG is working with Professor Stear and independent sheep consultant Dr Catherine Nakielny to again carry out several thousand tests on members’ lambs this summer. This will act as a further important intermediary step between the completed research phase and the development of a full commercial test.
Breeding for parasite resistance has been identified as a key aim of the PRLG and we are excited to be involved with this important new development. The commercial implications for breeding rams with high tolerance or immunity to roundworms are clear and in particular their high correlation with methane.