The National Sheep Authority (NSA) are looking for farmers to contribute to a study into ram longevity.

A team of expert sheep consultants have been rounded up to enable the study, which aims to investigate the longevity of rams in commercial flocks.

The study comprises of two main elements, firstly an online survey to gather views, and secondly a series of more in-depth focus groups.

It is hoped that the results of the study will enable farmers to reduce the costs of each lamb reared.

Lesley Stubbings, an independent sheep consultant, said: “This study is a great opportunity for us to pin down some actual data on how long rams are lasting on commercial farms.

"The aim is to gather information on how we can improve their longevity and reduce costs per lamb reared as a result.

"Ultimately, we want farmers to not only get the most out of their investment but also feel confident they can pay for improved genetics and know it will pay dividends over the lifetime of the ram.

“To achieve this we need help from commercial farmers and are asking individuals to get involved by completing the quick online survey or get involved through local focus groups.

"So why not volunteer to join myself or one of my colleagues for a discussion around the data collected so far?

"Afterwards we can continue to chew over other topics while enjoying a hot supper.”

Harry Fredrick, a sheep farmer from Penshurst, Kent, who took part in the study, said: "The focus group was a really interesting evening and I would recommend anyone who is buying rams to get involved in a session if they can.

"Without knowledge from projects like this, we cannot gauge what is really going on.

"It was useful to hear about the practices of other farmers in my local area, and will hopefully be a way to improve ram buyer and seller relationships in the future.”

James Evans, a sheep farmer in Lydbury North, Shropshire, says: “I had an enjoyable evening at the focus group. It was especially nice to realise that a lot of the problems I’ve experienced are actually shared by many other farmers in similar situations.

"The project is in its early days, but it is a good way to voice an opinion and hopefully we’ll see the benefits in the future.”

Anyone who wishes to complete the survey can do so at, and anyone interested in the group group meetings should contact the NSA to find out more.