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The Concept

Ian and Hayden met when Haydens flock was selected to provide the bulk of 500 Easycare embryos exported to NZ. As they worked together, they discussed the woolshedding genetics available in the Southern Hemisphere and how they may improve UK sheep. Ian is an Australian Vet, who moved to the UK in 1985, and has travelled the world for 35 years with his Sheep Breeding Business and he has a unique overview of global sheep production. They hope that by combining advanced breeding technologies, accurate performance recording and no nonsense commercial sheep farming it will be possible to produce Cleanskin Terminal and Cleanskin Maternal Rams that will perform well on most farms in Britain and beyond, producing a better quality lamb with a low environmental footprint, all achieved with the original Easycare ethos of the absolute minimum requirement for labour and resources.

To produce Cleanskin Terminal and Cleanskin Maternal Rams that will perform well on most farms in Britain and beyond, producing a better quality lamb with a low environmental footprint.

Long-term Sustainability

Competing with New Zealand Lamb.

New Zealand market their lamb as having a very low carbon foot print. Research from New Zealand claims that the carbon footprint of New Zealand lamb is only 25% of that of British lamb. This would make lamb from New Zealand more sustainable and more attractive for British supermarkets to sell if we have to start quoting product carbon foot print on the packet. New Zealand sheep farmers rely on exporting lamb to remain in business so they are already taking steps to ensure that their lamb is very environmentally friendly and can compete on the world stage as “Low Carbon Footprint Lamb” They are already breeding low methane emissions sheep. The free trade agreements with New Zealand and Australia will mean more competition for supermarket shelf space in Britain and within Europe for low carbon footprint lamb. British lamb producers need to document and prove how “green” and sustainable their product is. Low Footprint Lamb UK aim to breed sheep that can compete with New Zealand Lamb by producing sheep with a low carbon foot print. This involves breeding ewes that : - Can survive and thrive outdoors all year - Do not need supplementing with cereals - Are resistant to round worms - Are resistant to foot rot - Don’t require shearing or fly treatment - Can wean 150-165% with outdoor lambing - Have lower than average methane emissions And that the lambs produced by these ewes: - Can be born outside and survive - Are resilient to round worms - Finish fast off grass - Have a quality carcass Breeding “Low Carbon/Methane Footprint Lamb” is a continuous journey. Low Footprint Lamb is measuring and recording - growth rate performance - carcass quality - faecal egg count - methane emissions - ewe productivity - animal health


Switch from Romney to Easycare saved labour and reduced costs by £10 per ewe annually.

Hayden’s flock had grown over 20 years from 60 ewes to over 5000 Romney and Lleyn ewes farmed on permanent pasture in Shropshire. A switch to Easycare’s started with the purchase of 1200 Easycare ewes from Iolo Owen between 2015-17. Only Maternal Easycare and Exlana rams have been used since 2015 which has meant that big numbers of ewe lambs have been available and a high selection pressure could be exerted, creating a uniform flock. Ewes have been Signet recorded for 2 years.

Low footprint Lamb UK

Establishing Low Footprint Lamb

During November 2022 Low Footprint Lamb synchronised and inseminated 1130 flock age ewes with semen that Ian has selected from 22 different sires representing all of the major woolshedding breeds from around the world. 4 NZ Wiltshire rams have been flown in because it is not currently possible to bring semen and embryos from NZ, but hopefully that will change soon (and there is a lot we like in NZ!) These imported breeds should introduce 4 completely separate and fresh genetic breedlines to UK shedding sheep and stimulate hybrid vigour. We have used semen from NZ Wiltshires, Australian White, Nudie, Wiltipoll and Ultrawhite alongside recorded UK Easycare, Exlana and shedding Texel. A further 600 ewes have been single sire mated to top Exlana and Easycare rams. 140 Australian White and Nudie embryos have been implanted into Recipient ewes. We plan to give all of these breeds a fair trial, see what works, and then identify and combine successful animals into Composite Maternal and Composite Terminal Rams. The aim being to provide our customers with Maternal Rams to breed replacements ewe lambs, and Terminal Rams to increase the value of the rest of that lamb crop, all with unassisted lambing, no wool, good worm tolerance and within your closed flock.

Large progeny test commenced involving 1130 ewes and 22 sires.

Performance Recording

Flock to be recorded on both Signet and SIL (NZ) because a lot of the imported sires have records on SIL and therefore linkage already exists. Methane and FEC research is advanced in NZ and it’s possible to tap into existing data and rank our sheep.  We are breeding separate Maternal and Terminal Rams so we can focus on maternal traits such as fertility, lambing ease, lamb survival and ewe efficiency are locked in and not compromised by continually chasing lamb growth rates or carcasse conformation. That’s the sole function of a Terminal sire. Fast growing lambs are naturally born heavier to ewes with big mature weights and if maternal breeds are subject to this type of selection pressure maternal traits inevitably suffer.

​Data captured in real time in the field on smart phone or tablet using the cloud based iLivestock programme.  

Data sent to SIL and Signet for analysis.

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