Latest News

AHDB Beef and Lamb Farm Innovation Grant Funds Trial of Novel Sheep Worm Resistance Detection Method

The following link gives a good summary of the research that PRLB is doing with worm resistance -

Ongoing Research Into Worm Resistance

After saliva swabbing and FEC sampling over 3,000 lambs a year for the past 2 years the Performance Recorded Lleyn Breeders (PRLB) have been successful in obtaining a Farm Innovation Grant which will be used to develope an IgA EBV. It is hoped this new EBV will be displayed on the BASCO website by the atumn.

An application for a Euopean Innovation Partnership grant has just been submitted and if successful will be used for extra trial work in relation to the saliva test.

New Research Project For Performance Recorded Lleyn Breeders

Great news!… this week as we learnt that our application for an EBLEX Farm Innovation Grant has been successful. Performance Recorded Lleyn Breeders (PRLB) are going to trial a new test designed to identify individual breeding animals with improved genetic resistance to roundworms.

Research by Professor Mike Stear at Glasgow Veterinary School 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 has led him to develop a saliva test for the antibody. The test also has several practical advantages over FEC as it is easier to carry out, cheaper and unaffected by the use of drenches or pour-ons.

With the help of the Farm Innovation Grant, PRLB are going to work with Professor Stear and independent sheep consultant Dr Catherine Nakielny to carry out several thousand tests on members lambs this summer. This will act as an 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 our group and we are excited to be involved with this important new development at such an early stage.

Lleyn Sire Reference Group Open Day – 12th May 2013, 2 – 6pm

Longlands is the home of Lleyn Flock No 10; Flock 10 was a founder member of the Lleyn Breeding Group which started in the 1970’s and has evolved into the Sire Reference Group. Last autumn a Flock 10 ram lamb was selected as the top reference sire at the Group’s ram selection day.

Longlands farm is run by Julia Evans and is organic, with 130 registered Lleyn ewes and a herd of 30 pedigree Beef Shorthorn cows plus followers. Julia is also heavily committed to Care farming.

The afternoon will include tractor and trailer tours of the livestock, including ewes and lambs, and cows and calves. Stock rams, shearling rams and shearling ewes can be viewed in the sheep shed; performance figures will be on display and members of the Sire Reference Group will be available to explain and discuss these. Julia’s two Beef Shorthorn bulls will also be on view in the buildings, as will some of the young stock.

The Chairman will also outline the Lleyn Sire Reference Group’s intention of holding a performance recorded ram sale at Worcester market on 17th August. This sale will offer buyers the opportunity to purchase registered and unregistered rams and possibly females with high Signet performance figures.

The afternoon will end with a barbeque. Please notify the secretary; Bill Evans on 01886 821431 if you intend to come.

Longlands Farm, WR6 5SG,is signed off the A44 about 9 miles west of Worcester.

Profile of Group Member Humphrey Mills

We are lambing around 190 ewes this year, 50 Lleyns pure bred, 120 Lleyns in lamb to Texel ram lambs and about 20 Texels producing pure bred rams for sale. We scanned last week at 185%. We lamb mainly outside starting mid March with singles and triplets nearer the shed for fostering and easier shepherding.

The last of the March born ram lambs in November
The last of the March born ram lambs in November

Our sheep stay outside all yer round on a grass based system using minimal conserved forage or trough feed. It’s Essex clay here so ewes are kept off the farm on a variety of grass types after drying off till February, when we bring them home for a pre-lambing boost on our  high sugar, clover grass leys. We haven’t routinely wormed any ewes since moving here in 2006 to try to preserve a naive worm population which means the home pastures quickly become quite wormy in the early summer. We have found by mixed stocking or grazing cattle followed by sheep our lambs still do reasonably well, though we like to get them off the farm onto cleaner grass by late summer.

We never trough feed any of our lambs or rams though ram lambs get a feed block over the winter and prior to sale / tupping to boost fertility. This year I am going to try Lifeline as an alternative to cake feeding during lambing which I am slightly nervous about. Hopefully it will avoid the “charge of the light brigade” every morning and reduce the workload (if it works!).

Lleyn ewes in lamb to Texel rams grazing by the river Stour in Suffolk
Lleyn ewes in lamb to Texel rams grazing by the river Stour in Suffolk

We started keeping Texels in 1995 and found the workload at lambing was restricting expansion of the flock and the Texel isn’t prolific enough to run as  a commercial ewe, although the lambs are always in demand. As an alternative, I wanted a ewe that would be a good mother, prolific and easy lambing and which I could breed on the farm without buying in replacements, so mules and a good lot besides were out. I was also terrified of buying in disease especially abortion and was lucky enough to buy 25 MV and EAE accredited Lleyn ewe lambs from Julian Courtauld from Essex to start us off. This was probably the best thing I will ever do in my sheep farming career.

We select all our replacements on performance at lambing and EBV’s and they have to be sound. Over the years I have realised that the right sheep don’t need mollycoddling or buckets of cake three times a day, they will survive and thrive on grass alone.

Selection Day at Worcester market

Marilyn Hendy accepting the Graham Martin Trophy from Signet's Carol Davis


The Lleyn SireReference Group held their annual selection day at Worcester market on 30th September. 7 members bought high indexed ram lambs to the market to be judged on breed type and performance figures. The results were as follows:


1st  Ram lamb from Marilyn Hendy, Somerset.

2nd Ram lamb from Humphrey Mills, Essex

3rd Ram lamb from Jim Dufosee, Wiltshire

After the judging, members were able to hire a ram lamb off each other to put to a maximum of 25 ewes this season. The great benefit of this is that a member is able to have the use of a ram lamb with high performance figures at a greatly reduced price than if they had to purchase one at the sales. They are able to access superior genetics and become better connected with each others flocks.

Carol Davis, sheep specialist with Signet Breeding Services was present throughout the day to assist with the judging and to inform members of future developments to performance recording within Signet.

Ram Registrations

The Lleyn Sheep Society employs a ram inspector to inspect all yearling rams that are to be registered with the Society. The inspector inspects each ram for confirmation and breed type paying particular attention to pasterns, teeth, testicles and overall structure.

The ram inspections started this week and will be completed by the end of July.

Please contact a member of the Lleyn Sire Reference Scheme if you are looking for a Lleyn ram, registered or unregistered with performance figures.

Farm Visit to Lleyn Sire Reference Group member Jim Dufosee

The Lleyn South West Club are to vsit Jim Dufosee, Farnicombe Farm, Upton Scudamore, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 0AD on Sunday 7th May. This is a good opportunity to see an award winning flock of Signet recorded sheep.

Graham Shepherd Wins EBLEX Award

Congratulations to our Chairman, Graham Shepherd on winning the EBLEX Improved Flock Award for 2010 for the Lleyn Breed.

Ram, Lleyn ram, Recorded ram, Recorded Lleyn ramThis award is presented to the performance recorded flock that has shown the most impressive improvement in genetic merit over a 12-month period, within the breed.

To read more about Graham’ flock, go to This website also has features on flocks of Sire Reference Group members Jim Dufosee and Edward Collins

Lleyn Sire Reference Group’s Selection Day


Every autumn the Lleyn Sire Reference Group holds it’s annual Selection Day where members bring their high indexed ram lambs to be judged on breed characteristics and performance figures. All the ram lambs are judged by the members and the winner is awarded the Graham Martin Memorial Trophy. Carol Davies, a breeding consultant from Signet Breeding Services attended, to give help and advice.

After the judging, members have the opportunity to hire ram lambs off each other, thereby improving the connectiveness within their flocks and accessing quality genetics at far less cost than purchasing a yearling ram with high performance figures at the sales.

Edward Collins, Bearwood Lleyn, Lleyn Sheep, Recorded Ram, High Indexed Ram
Edward Collins recieving the Graham Martin Memorial Trophy from Carol Davies of Signet Breeding Services

The breeder who was awarded the Graham Martin Memorial Trophy in 2010 was Edward Collins, Bearwood Farm, Herefordshire with his ram lamb, Bearwood Rocky. This high indexed ram lamb was out of a hombred ewe by a two year old ram that was purchased as a yearling from Dereck and Cindy Steen at the Lleyn Sheep Society’s Sale at Carlisle. Edward previously was awarded this trophy for his ram, Bearwood Howard in 2007.

The next Selection day will be held at Worcester Livestock Market in September 2011.

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