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Southwest Agricultural Research and Extension Center Ram Test

Southwest Agricultural Research and Extension Center with sheep grazing on green grass beneath a blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds.

Virginia Tech's Southwest Ag Research and Extension Center Ram Test was initiated in 2012, and is the only program in the U.S. evaluating rams through a forage-based performance test designed specifically to evaluate post-weaning growth and parasite resistance. The test provides a mechanism for which ram lambs can be evaluated among rams from other flocks in a common environment, with the top end of the rams offered for sale at the conclusion of the program. Since inception, the program has had strong participation from breeders across the country, as well as sent rams to multiple states through the sale. This program is unique and created much interest across the industry.

The program purpose is:

  1. To provide a standardized post-weaning performance evaluation of growth and parasite resistance that will furnish records which will be useful to the consignor's breeding program.
  2. To serve as an educational tool for the sheep industry.

The 2024 Virginia Tech Southwest AREC Ram Test Annual Field Day and Ram Sale will be held Friday, September 20.

  • Nominations Due: May 1, 2024

  • Delivery: (Tuesday) May 28, 2024

2024 SWAREC Consignment Packet contains:

2024 SWAREC Ram Test Dates

 Nomination Deadline  May 1
 Ram Delivery  Tuesday, May 28
 Acclimation Period (3 weeks)       May 28 - June 18
 Start Test  June 18
 14- day Interim Date  July 2
 28- day Interim Date  July 16
 42- day Interim Date  July 30
 56- day Interim Date  August 13
 Off-test (70 days)  August 27
 Sale & Field Day   Friday, September 20

Will be posted as soon as they are available.

Will be posted as soon as they are available.

Will be posted as soon as it is available.

Video Field Day Topics:

  • Selection for Parasite Resistance in Katahdin Sheep- Dr. Andrew Weaver, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Small Ruminants, North Carolina State University
  • Southwest AREC Ram Test Program 2012-2019: What We’ve Learned- Dr. Scott Greiner, Professor and Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech
  • Utilizing NSIP and EBV’s in Your Production System-  Lee Wright, Senior Research Associate/Superintendent, VA Tech Southwest AREC
  • Update on Available Assistance from VSU Small Farm Outreach Programs for Southwest VA- Mandy Fletcher, Small Farm Outreach Program/Agriculture Agent, Virginia State Univ.


SWAREC Ram Test Contacts



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