Introducing ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules in 2014
Next year, the association will be offering ‘Performance’ Welsh Mule ewes for sale, ewes that will be identified as having been sired by above-average, performance recorded Blue-faced Leicester Rams. It’s been made clear at this year’s shows and demonstrations that a number of farmers, especially younger ones, wish to buy stock that are accompanied by recorded performance indicators. The executive committee have therefore agreed to try and meet those aspirations by offering ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules for sale from 2014.
Interested buyers will be provided with information on ewes that have been sired by high performing, rams resulting in ewes that benefit from the maximum amount of hybrid vigour. The crossing of the recorded Blue-faced Leicester Rams with the Beulah Speckle-face, the Welsh Hill Speckled-face or Welsh Mountain breed is a proven method of maximising the benefits of hybrid vigour to produce Welsh Mules of real quality for farmers that are capable of delivering superior finished lamb.
In 2014, Welsh Mule breeders will be able to market their Welsh Mule ewe lambs as ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules if the rams that they will use this autumn meet a few specific qualifying criteria.
Welsh Mule breeders will need to purchase rams that will be sold through the Blue-faced Leicester Association sales as having an above-average index of performance as recorded by Blue-faced Leicester breeders.
In this year’s ram sales, Blue-faced Leicester Rams with an index of 98 and above will be marked as a ‘Qualifying’ ram to produce Performance Welsh Mules in the sale catalogues: this status will remain with the ram for its lifetime.
Each Mule breeder can contact the Blue-faced Leicester Association for a certificate which highlights the identity of the Qualifying Ram or rams to be used. These certificates can then be displayed on the pens at the Welsh Mule sales. Pens of ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules will be identified in sale catalogues and on the pens themselves on sale days.
All ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules in any one pen must be sired by a Blue-faced Leicester with an index in the top 50% on the year of purchase, according to Signet performance recorded data. This data is also available on the BASCO website.
All ‘Performance’ Welsh Mules will be identified by the initials ‘PM’ on their ear tags in a similar way as the Blue-faced Leicester Sheep Society use the initial ‘L’. Breeders will need to contact their tag supplier to produce appropriate tags for 2014 born Performance Mule ewe lambs.
The Welsh Mule Sheep Breeders Association and Blue-faced Leicester Association will work together as this initiative develops.