Signet Recording Scheme

Signet, part of AHDB, provide the Sheepbreeder recording scheme. This uses breeding information (sire, dam, date of birth, etc) and performance information (weights, ultrasonic measurements for eye-muscle and fat) to provide Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for various traits. The main traits are 8 week weight, Mature Size, Litter Size, Maternal Ability, Scan Weight, Muscle Depth and Fat Depth. Some breeders have also been taking advantage of CT technology to enable the production of a Gigot muscularity EBV.

Some of the EBVs are combined into an Index. In the case of Suffolk’s and other terminal sires, the index objective is to select superior animals to increase lean meat yield in the carcase whilst limiting any associated rise in fatness.


Breed Performance

Maturity at Lambing Number of lambs born Range
Shearling Ewes 1.58 1.3 – 1.8
Mature Ewes 1.7171 1.5 – 1.9
Number of lambs Shearlings Mature Ewes
Singles 5.2kg 5.6kg
Twins 4.2kg 4.7kg
Triplets 3.7kg 4.0kg


Ranges reflect different production systems, time of lambing and intensity of feeding and finishing. Ewe lambs achieve 90-92% of ram lamb figures. Suffolk cross lambs easily achieve 40kg weights at 15-16 weeks with the ideal 3mm backfat.
Days Weight/scan Range
56 (8 weeks) 32.6kg 25kg to 41.3kg
147 (21 weeks) 70.5kg 47kg to 88.1kg
147 muscle 35mm 29mm to 46.8mm
147 fat 4.31mm 1.5mm to 8mm

Signet Sheepbreeder

Download “Buying a recorded Suffolk” factsheet here

Signet Recorded Suffolk Sheep – Helping Commercial Farmers Profit from Performance

The Suffolk breed has made tremendous progress since flock recording began in the 1980’s. Signet’s recording service has changed over time with the incorporation of new traits and indexes, but the launch of the National Terminal Sire Evaluation in 2019 was the biggest changed for a decade.

The National Terminal Sire Evaluation is a multi-breed analysis.

Benefits include

Monthly BLUP runs
More commercially focussed carcase trait EBVs
Eight new EBVs derived from CT scanning
Rebased EBVs to aid interpretation by commercial buyers
The inclusion of commercial data from projects like RamCompare.

More commercially focussed carcase traits

Historically traits like muscle depth have been adjusted for age to identify lambs that lay down muscle at a certain age, regardless of weight. Breeders can already select for growth rate, so a better approach is to assess muscling independently from growth i.e. a comparison of muscling/fatness at a fixed weight, rather than a fixed age.

Within the updated evaluation all carcase trait EBVs are weight adjusted, rather than age adjusted. The new approach is advantageous for commercial producers as it enables them to optimise muscling and finish when lambs are drawn at a fixed weight.

EBVs from Computed Tomography (CT)

Over the last 15 years over 10,000 lambs have been CT scanned and additional measures collected. Within the new evaluation, EBVs are produced for spine traits (length and vertebra number), muscle area and predicted intramuscular fat (IMF) – as well as lean meat yield, fat yield and gigot muscularity

Why Record my Suffolk Flock?


Signet recording adds value to pedigree flocks

 Greater interest from commercial buyers

Add value to ram sales and increase clearance rates
Create marketing information to promote elite genetics


Improve breeding decisions and the sheep in your flock

Rank individuals in your flock against the breed


If you want to take your flock forward, add value to your breeding stock and promote your genetics, then start recording with Signet

What does it cost to record with Signet?

The current cost of online recording is £95/flock plus an additional headage payment based on the number of ewes lambing in the flock. Full details are available on the Signet website. Ultrasound scanning services are charged separately. Typically, £175/visit for 100 lambs.

How can I get involved?


Signet offers online recording services, so getting started has never been easier and costs are ~£50-100/flock less than three years ago.

Flocks considering recording their flock can contact Signet directly for a starter pack, email:

Leading Recorded Suffolk Genetics

Signet produce a new Terminal Sire analysis each month updating the breeding values held for Suffolk sheep. All the latest Suffolk information can be found here, including a number of listings showing the leading Signet Recorded Suffolk genetics. Remember that the top ram lamb list will increase as the season progresses and the later lambing Suffolk flocks are included.  

Find a Recorded Suffolk Flock

It has never been easier to find Signet Recorded Flocks in your area. Just click on Flock Finder and enter your postcode to get a list of Suffolk breeders in your area. This web page not only tells you how far away they are from your farm, but with a single click it provides all of the EBVs for animals on their holding.

Suffolk Breed Benchmarks

For details of the Breed Benchmarks Analysed on Terminal Sire Index please click here

For more information see the Signet website here


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Suffolk Sheep Society Ltd
Fenaghy Road
Galgorm, Ballymena
Co. Antrim
BT42 1FL

Phone: +44 (0) 28 2563 2342

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