Over the past 10 years there have been growing concerns over the sustainability of UK lamb production. To help address this issue, a study was commissioned by Marks and Spencer PLC, with assistance from Linden Foods, to investigate the merits of using Highlander and Primera genetics in UK sheep flocks as a means to develop a more sustainable lamb supply chain and to maximize value within the supply chain through increasing lamb output, improving welfare, reducing production and processing costs and delivering environmental benefits in terms of carbon emissions, while ensuring lambs remain within retail specification and deliver a consistently high quality eating experience.
The study was undertaken jointly by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), both based in Northern Ireland. The work was undertaken on two upland flocks belonging to the Buccleuch Group, based in southern Scotland and currently a multiplier for Rissington Breedline Ltd (now Focus Genetics).
The project investigated the impact of Highlander and Primera genetics on:
- Lamb output and production efficiency
- Animal welfare
- Carcass quality and consistency of specification
- On-farm production costs
- Carbon emissions on-farm
- Processing efficiency
- Meat eating quality
- Supply chain sustainability
The full report can be downloaded at the link below: