The Ile de France sheep breed enjoys success in most parts of the world but the benefits have still to be realised in the UK.
Meat processors and supermarkets are now making suggestions that the EUROP grid is not fit for purpose in the sheep world.
The grid does not reward a carcase with a long loin yet the meat processors will say that is the most desirable and expensive cut of meat in a lamb.
Trials have shown that Ile de France sheep have a large area of loin because of its depth and length.
In Australia and New Zealand Ile de France are now getting noticed for their ability to produce a fast growing lamb of high value carcase
South African genetics were imported into Australia and after the minimum three generations there, semen from three rams imported to New Zealand and Australia in 2008.
Five live rams and frozen semen from another three rams have been imported since then.
Murray Rohloff, (no stranger to sheep breeders in the UK) is one of the breeders behind the initiative.
He said: “They’re very well adjusted to arid conditions; tough as nails.”
While the initial driver behind importing the breed was to facilitate out-of-season breeding – three lambings in two years is the norm for some producers with the breed overseas – Rohloff and colleague Peter Ponsonby have since found meat and wool traits alone are enough to justify their integration into certain New Zealand systems.
Crossing with Romney ewes for example saw hogget fleece micron cut by eight to below 30 with only a 0.4kg or 10% loss in fleece weight from the first cross progeny.