Developing Beltex recording



A set of Beltex parameters was produced these were reviewed by the Signet team.

Several test runs were completed and whilst the changes were small, these new parameters were adopted for future Beltex evaluations.

A breeding evaluation for the Beltex breed has now been produced using the new parameters.

A technical report can be obtained from Signet.


Planned activity:

Beltex breeders have received a Breeding Evaluation based on the new parameters and are cockahoop.

Beef & Lamb
Project code:
01 June 2009 - 01 July 2009
AHDB Beef & Lamb
Project leader:


73407 Final Report Jul 2010

About this project

The Problem:

Since introduction in to the UK in 1989, the Beltex breed has increased in number and is now the fourth most influential terminal sire breed in the UK (2003 national sheep survey). The characteristics that differentiate it from any other breed are double muscled hind legs with fine bones; both ideally suited to producing commercial lambs for the UK market where good carcase shape and high killing-out percentage are important.

Despite its importance within the sheep sector, Beltex are amongst the few breeds that do not have an established performance recording scheme. Whilst the importance of performance recording is widely achnowledged amongst breeders, there is concern that the current evaluation does not address the characteristic strengths of the breed and this is hindering wider participation of Beltex breeders in performance recording.


Project Aims:

1. To analyse the parameters for the main growth and carcase trait EBVs for the breed.

2. To incorporate the reviewed parameters in the 2009 evaluation.



In the early part of 2008, the Beltex Society and SAC secured SPARK award funding from Genesis Faraday to carry out CT (computed tomography) scanning of 50 animals from a number of flocks to produce EBVs and a Lean Index score in an across-flock genetic evaluation. Much of this work was only possible, however, using genetic parameter estimations from the Texel breed (since there was not yet sufficient data to produce Beltex parameters) and one of the main recommendations from this project was that they should be revised so they are specific to the Beltex breed.

As contractors to Signet for the delivery of all sheep evaluations, SAC’s genetic evaluation department, Egenes, have been instructed to undertake this work.



All Beltex growth and carcase EBVs will be based on Beltex-specific genetic parameter estimations. They will not be unduly influenced by assumptions about the similarities of this breed to the Texel breed. Consequently, breeders will have greater confidence in their results, increasing the value they place on them and increasing participation in the scheme from those that have been discouraged so far.