The Shropshire Breed Improvement Scheme (SBIS)

In 2006, the SSBA introduced a Breed Improvement Scheme (SBIS) to enhance the most economically important traits of Shropshire sheep. These include:

From 2011 onwards, the scheme will also identify Shropshire rams that are likely to perform well as terminal sires. This new focus will be of particular interest to sheep farmers looking for rams to cross with commercial ewes to produce fast growing, meaty lambs.

Signet Performance Recording
SBISThe SBIS is based on the well-known Signet Performance Recording Scheme - a system used by many sheep and beef breeders in the UK to identify animals that are genetically superior for desirable traits.

Although a "stockman's eye" is undoubtedly of great value when selecting breeding stock, genetic traits are not always reflected in the animals' looks. The Signet Recording Scheme makes it possible to identify and select animals that have high genetic merit as well as good conformation.

SBISUnder the Signet system, Shropshire sheep breeders measure and record the performance of their flocks. Farmers enrolled on the scheme collect data such as the weight of lambs at birth and at 8 weeks old; the number of lambs born and raised by each ewe, and the carcass conformation of lambs. Carcass traits are measured by ultrasonic scanning in the loin area of the live lamb. This evaluation is carried out by Signet technicians, who visit each farm with a portable scanner to obtain the ultrasonic readings.

All the performance information gathered by the breeders is sent to Signet, who use a specialized computer program to calculate the genetic potential of all lambs, ewes and rams in recorded flocks. This program is able to recognize genetic links between related animals, which improves the accuracy of the evaluations. The computer can also identify genetic linkage between relatives in different recorded flocks, allowing across-flock comparisons to be made.

SBIS Results
Eight Shropshire flocks participated in the first phase of the SBIS, which recorded their flock performance during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons. Additional flocks joined SBIS in 2009 and 2013 and there are now 18 Shropshire flocks recording their sheep with Signet.

Current SBIS Members

Mr and Mrs J Bowles (Sidedowns Flock)
Stenhill Farm, Bradfield, Cullompton, Devon EX15 3DH
01884 840357. Flock Letters BB

Ms E Bowles and Mr M Bray (Hayne Oak Flock)
Hayne Oak, Butterleigh, Near Cullompton, Devon EX15 1PS
01884 32983, email: Flock Letters LX

Miss A and Master G Clay (Showle and Swallows Flocks)
Showle Court, Yarkhill, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 2TX
01432 890261, email . Flock Letters OR and TV

Mr C Davies (Westwood Flock)
Westwood, Mamble, Kidderminster, Worcester DY14 9JX
01299 832625, email: . Flock Letters UD

Mr and Mrs P Geddes (Alderton Flock)
Stable Views, Alderton, Near Montford Bridge, Shropshire SY4 1AW
01743 741689, email: . Flock Letters LU

Mr and Mrs P Schofield (Hornpipe Flock)
Brookfield Farm, Sproston Green, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire CW4 7LN
01477 533256, email: . Flock Letters FN

Mr and Mrs M Shimwell (Brereton Flock)
Meadow Bank, Dodds Lane, Astbury, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 4RH,
01260 270061, email: . Flock Letters DB

Mr P and Miss D Tavernor (Shebdon and Madeley Flocks)
Shebdon Cottage, Shebdon, Stafford ST20 0PT
01785 280778, email:
and . Flock Letters MR and PQ

Mr J Thompson (Sansaw Flock)
The Estate Office, Sansaw Business Park, Hadnall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 4AS
07980 305815, email:. Flock Letters TA

Mrs A Tordoff (Hilltop Flock)
Mid Todholes Farm, Eastriggs, Annan, Dumfriesshire DG12 6RJ
01461 40028, email: . Flock Letters: NA

Mr and Mrs A Webb (Ushers Flock)
Usher Farm, Walcote Road, Gilmorton, Lutterworth, Leicestershire LE17 5PJ,
01455 554351, email: . Flock Letters KX

Mr J Dodd (Broad Oak Flock)
Broad Oak Farm, Woodhouse, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 4AG,
01948 871276, email :, Flock Letters UH

Jeanette & Robert Hares (Millenheath Flock)
Millenheath Farm, Higher Heath, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 3HX,
01948 840233, email: . Flock Letters TW

Dr Iain Mackirdy (Pot House Flock)
Pot House Fram, Hopton Wafers, Cleobury Mortimer, Kidderminster, Worcester DY14 0HN,
01584 891214, email: . Flock Letters NI

Paul Stead & Val Tew (Timberline Flock)
T/A Sapphire Alpacas, Little Haven, Barford, South Newington, Banbury, Oxon,
01295 721320, email: . Flock Letters VZ

Janet & Charles Morris (Apiary Flock)
The Apiary, Stoney Stretton, Yockleton, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY5 9PZ
01743 821685, email: . Flock Letters XA

Signet Results

Each year the SSBA publishes the following information about the SBIS flocks:

This can be downloaded from Signet Website (click to be forwarded to results)

For further information about the Shropshire Breed Improvement Scheme please contact Pippa Geddes, SBIS Coordinator, 01743 741689 or email:

Signet Breed Improvement Classes at Burwarton Show 2015

Classes for performance - recorded Shropshire rams and ram lambs take place annually at the Burwarton Show in August. In order to streamline the judging, the two performance classes now take place during the general showing classes for the Shropshire breed event. A direct to the website of the show with more details is