Sheep Ireland will hold a multi-breed sale of elite rams on Saturday, August 22, at Tullamore Livestock Mart.

There will be over 150 rams on offer from several of the top recording sheep breeds.

The rams entered in this sale are the elite of rams from the Sheep Ireland EuroStar rating system. All rams on offer will possess five stars in the Terminal or Replacement index with a minimum accuracy of 30%.

The breeds included in the sale are Suffolk, Charollais, Texel, Vendeen, Belclare and Rouge.

Currently a ram’s EuroStar rating will not allow farmers to compare the relative performance of different breeds.

However, a ram’s EuroStar rating will hopefully be evaluated across breed within two years said Sheep Ireland’s Kevin McDermott.

The current system of evaluation focuses solely within breed. This means that rams with similar star ratings for a particular trait (growth, milk, survivability) from two different breeds could produce progeny with variable growth rates.

So, essentially, a five-star ram from one breed of sheep could produce progeny far superior to that of a five star ram of another breed.

McDermott said that Sheep Ireland are in the process of bringing all this data together to allow for the easy identification of top performing rams both within and across breeds.

He said the size of the breed population also has a major impact on the accuracy of the ram’s results.

“Breeds with smaller populations tend to have lower accuracies as the total number of sheep to evaluate is small.

“When it comes to the breed evaluations the more data that are available the more accurate the result,” he said.

“We want to introduce the star ratings across the breeds.

Rams are currently categorised under two main headings these are terminal and replacement.

The terminal index indicates what the ram can add to lamb performance while the replacement index will give a guide to the maternal ability of the future progeny in the flock.

There are also four sub-indexes these include days to slaughter, survivability, number of lambs born and daughter’s milk.

The number of lambs born and daughter’s milk relate to the female progeny of the ram and are a guide to indicate the potential performance of these females in the flock.