Sheep breeding survey

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
I would guess every sheep farmer should have received this;
1602888336475.png

[credit: yellowbelly]

There is no obligation whatsoever to complete it so don't.
Enough replies would give your buyers all the information they need to minimise what they pay you for sheep for years to come.
Practice your throwing at the bin or use it to start the fire on a cold evening and be happy knowing you've served the industry well.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Do you wear a tin foil hat too?🤔

Most of the information you would apparently like to keep hush hush, is already available from the annual census, which there is a legal requirement to fill in.

By not filling this one in, you ain’t keeping anything secret from the retailers, just tieing AHDBs hands.
 

easyram1

Member
Location
North Shropshire
I would guess every sheep farmer should have received this;
View attachment 914586
[credit: yellowbelly]

There is no obligation whatsoever to complete it so don't.
Enough replies would give your buyers all the information they need to minimise what they pay you for sheep for years to come.
Practice your throwing at the bin or use it to start the fire on a cold evening and be happy knowing you've served the industry well.
I could not disagree more. I am unaware that any of the previous FIVE surveys completed over the last 50 years have made any difference to the prices we have all received for our stock over that period.
I would have thought that all sheep farmers would be interested in general trends of the industry in which they operate ie early/late lambing/ ewe lamb tupping. retaining breeding stock etc etc.
For those of us selling breeding stock it will give a really useful handle about what is eally happening on a national basis not just in our local areas. Finally it might just give a degree of realism and fact to some of the wilder claims about which breeds are on the up or down which is a continuing source of much heat in so many threads on the Forum.

Sheep Breed Survey

The Sheep Breed Survey
The Sheep Breed Survey is an important reference point for researchers, funders and policy makers in the UK sheep industry.
The survey has been completed five times since 1971, with the last results published using data from 2012.
  • 1971
  • 1987
  • 1996
  • 2003
  • 2012
In Autumn 2020 sheep producers throughout the Great Britain will be asked once again about the breeds of ewes and rams that they keep on thier holdings.
What does it tell us?
The survey doesn’t just inform us about the sire and dam breeds used in UK sheep production, its impact is far wider than that.
The survey explains the structure of the industry, the degree to which stratification does or doesn’t continue to influence the sector and the current breeding policies in the lowland and hill sector that will influence future lamb production.
The survey shows the degree to which the industry utilises both hybrid vigour and breed complementarity. The knowledge of breed makeup helps to project changes in future productivity and efficiency – for example, indicating the change expected in lowland ewe weight due to breed substitution (as raising in recent work for the joint levy bodies by Abacus Bio).
Breed Survey Data informs the debate for supply chains seeking to market meat on the basis of system/breed/region. For levy organisations promoting hill lamb in Scotland and Wales, it indicates the current breed structure – and informs the debate about the marketing of light lambs. For HCC this data will help to quantify the impact of their Hill Sheep Breeding Project. In fact the baseline information produced by the Breed Survey is an essential component of most cost benefit analyses completed by or for the levy bodies – as well as being used by external organisations, such as the NSA, Breed Societies and university researchers.
Knowing the distribution of breeds across GB guides our genetic research. Although it is possible to find out how many sheep are registered by individual breed societies the Survey goes further than this, estimating the total size of breed populations by including unregistered purebred animals. Breed specific knowledge helps to define current and future breeding goals. An understanding of flock size within a breed, informs our view about the potential selection pressure that can be achieved through genetic selection and thus barriers and opportunities for genetic gain. Further to this the survey provides an indication of genetic diversity and highlights breeding lines that may be lost to the industry – as well as the spread of new importations and the development of synthetic, composite breeds.
The breed survey isn’t just a resource for those interested in genetics. Knowledge of the distribution of breeds across the UK helps to inform us about wider issues influencing sheep health and welfare, nutritional requirements and their environmental impact. It also indicates the update of practices such as the retention of female replacements, breeding from ewe lambs or the use of EBVs in ram selection that will shape research, knowledge transfer and ultimately the industry in years to come.
Why now?
The industry is at the point of great change – and a study in 2020 would provide a benchmark against which to assess this change, with future policies - particularly in the hill sector, being better informed by up to date information.
How can I get involved?
nothing.jpg

During October British Wool will be mailing a copy of the survey to all of the sheep producers on their mailing list, this will be accompanied by a freepost envelope.
British Wool
Anyone that hasn't recieved a form that would like one can download and print the form here - and either mail it back - or perhaps more conveniently take a photograph of the form and email it to [email protected]
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Do you wear a tin foil hat too?🤔

Most of the information you would apparently like to keep hush hush, is already available from the annual census, which there is a legal requirement to fill in.

By not filling this one in, you ain’t keeping anything secret from the retailers, just tieing AHDBs hands.

I expected a tin foil hat comment.

I'm not a conspiracy theory fan, just a pragmatist.

If we are not keeping anything secret, wtf is the point in filling it in if they know it!....

I object to the legal requirement to fill in the annual census but understand the importance of authorities knowing the basic data it provides.
This questionnaire does not ask for basic data. The wool board could easily get the information it requires in a few questions.
It asks for details which would make it reasonably easy to calculate the numbers of lambs and their likely spec for every month over several years allowing processors/ supermarkets to arrange imports accordingly to suppress prices.
Have a look at the average annual lamb prices. They reduce for a few years after each time this survey has been done.

We are now having the best prices for lamb in October ever, no wonder they're keen for you to get this completed.
 

Dkb

Member
A survey such as this couldn’t affect lamb prices. If your worried about imports being organised for to suppress imports etc

importers don’t need 6 months notice to do so. Imports can be brought in at anytime of the year at very short notice and a farmer survey will not be affecting this practice.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
A survey such as this couldn’t affect lamb prices. If your worried about imports being organised for to suppress imports etc

importers don’t need 6 months notice to do so. Imports can be brought in at anytime of the year at very short notice and a farmer survey will not be affecting this practice.

Nonsense.

Basic economics. The greater ability you have to predict supply, the greater ability you have to control the price.

Please could any of you send a similarly detailed survey about a product you regularly buy to your supplier and let me know the result.

Nobody will of course, because it would be completely unreasonable and at best you will be ignored and at worse, you will need it surgically removed the next time you meet.

Why the hell should you expect shepherds to operate their businesses differently.
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
I'd ask how many farmers will study the information or trends over previous census. 5 ok maybe 10?
Now ask how many supermarkets will read the results and study them in detail. I guarantee all of them will use it to plan imports to balance supply and if that means it controls the price it's win win for them and all the information is given to them for free from the shepherds themselves.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
@Dkb @easyram1 @pgk @Filthyfarmer @Tim W and @neilo

I admire your faith in those lovely people in those lovely offices, to not use the information you've provided against your interests but are you sure it is not misplaced?

I guess you have no reason to think they have.....

Surely we would have noticed.

If they had used previous surveys to reduce the prices paid we would have noticed a reduction in the average price in the season following the collection of the data.
Surely we would have noticed a stagnation of prices in the following years as they used the information to stop price increases.
Surely we would have noticed that the average price of sheepmeat in the UK only started to increase a few years later when the survey information became less relevant.
Surely we would notice it only increased until the information from the next survey was collated.

Did you notice what happened to the UK annual average price of sheep meat after the surveys in 2003 and 2012?

https://www.ibisworld.com/uk/bed/domestic-price-of-sheep-meat/44198/
 

Dkb

Member
I never mentioned having faith in anybody I said that several months notice wasn’t required to organise imports.
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
I guess that right now I'm just not that paranoid to think that the price i receive is dependant on production data from UK farmers being over analysed by my buyers --

I'm more worried about things like world wide eating trends & market accessibility

But it's not a big deal, it's just another survey which you can fill in if you want to or use to light the fire
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
If folk don't like this survey what are they going to think when any state aid in the future may well be linked to providing in depth data related to production/AB use/welfare outcomes etc ?

Data that can be used to build ''Brand Britain'' ---to prove (with data) that we have decent welfare , that we try to minimise AB use, that our Carbon footprint is low (and decreasing), that we have excellent traceability ---in short that our product ticks all the boxes to ensure we can build profitable trading agreements across the globe ?
Data is king in building this brand
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
If folk don't like this survey what are they going to think when any state aid in the future may well be linked to providing in depth data related to production/AB use/welfare outcomes etc ?

Data that can be used to build ''Brand Britain'' ---to prove (with data) that we have decent welfare , that we try to minimise AB use, that our Carbon footprint is low (and decreasing), that we have excellent traceability ---in short that our product ticks all the boxes to ensure we can build profitable trading agreements across the globe ?
Data is king in building this brand
But do you use this data for your own good or is it given/sold to your buyers who use it against you?
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
If folk don't like this survey what are they going to think when any state aid in the future may well be linked to providing in depth data related to production/AB use/welfare outcomes etc ?

Data that can be used to build ''Brand Britain'' ---to prove (with data) that we have decent welfare , that we try to minimise AB use, that our Carbon footprint is low (and decreasing), that we have excellent traceability ---in short that our product ticks all the boxes to ensure we can build profitable trading agreements across the globe ?
Data is king in building this brand

I have been discussing this data with my vet recently as part of the annual review. A positive and constructive thing to do. I would not like to have the parameters of such discussions set arbitrarily by someone sat in an office.
I would be happy to be part of 'brand britain' which gave us an advantage in terms of international trade in future agreements but throughout history, these schemes have always gone the way of the Red Tractor. A very small premium soon disappears to be left with an ever increasing cost and regulatory burden.
You really need to be more careful about how much of the decision making for your business you hand to others. They don't hand it back.
And the more data they have, the more they want to control it.
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
The folk trying to sell/export our product need to know what they have to sell & when it is available ? Having that info. (with a modicum of accuracy ) is a big +tive i think?

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill ---i wouldn't get too worried about it
 

egbert

Member
I would guess every sheep farmer should have received this;
View attachment 914586
[credit: yellowbelly]

There is no obligation whatsoever to complete it so don't.
Enough replies would give your buyers all the information they need to minimise what they pay you for sheep for years to come.
Practice your throwing at the bin or use it to start the fire on a cold evening and be happy knowing you've served the industry well.
I think you're overthinking it.
That said, why waste an opportunity to have some fun!
give em a complete lot of guff, and do the opposite.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
The folk trying to sell/export our product need to know what they have to sell & when it is available ? Having that info. (with a modicum of accuracy ) is a big +tive i think?

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill ---i wouldn't get too worried about it

So the one advantage you mention is the ability for the industry to manage our exports, yet you suggest I'm paranoid for thinking they would use it to manage imports. :unsure:

Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but they do it because it is well worth it, and their gains will be largely at our expense.
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
I'm sure you're right ---everyone uses data to their benefit---just think the good outweighs the bad & that we need data to allow forward planning
If AHDB collected data and then kept it for their own use only would that help alleviate concerns ?
''They'' in this case are AHDB who are working for us & will use the data for our own good rather than at our expense
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
I'm sure you're right ---everyone uses data to their benefit---just think the good outweighs the bad & that we need data to allow forward planning
If AHDB collected data and then kept it for their own use only would that help alleviate concerns ?
''They'' in this case are AHDB who are working for us & will use the data for our own good rather than at our expense

The trouble is, the AHDB works for us all. This is often OK for the industry but rather fails to acknowledge that what is good for processors, may not be good for farmers.
This has worried me too much in the past but the recent actions of the NBA, which has falsified information to try and let one part of the industry to have an advantage over the rest,has proved the need to keep these organisations under close supervision.
Many of these associations, processors, supermarkets and AHDB have a fairly incestuous relationship. Lots of staff switch between them and they all sit on each others committees.
I think it is reasonable to say, and the evidence suggests, that the interests of farmer is not a priority.
None of this would matter so much if the UK had a properly functioning market.
As @delilah often reminds us, market share is the root of evil.
Each processor is controlled by a supermarket and the 4 or 5 'partnerships' account for the vast majority of the UK market. They can and do manipulate the price.
Surely it is best not to aid them in these endeavours?
 

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