Quality Meat Scotland has hailed the potential of breeding technology to drive greater profitability and efficiency in the Scottish sheepmeat industry.

QMS this week launched a three-year Scottish Sheep Strategy, which follows on from the successful Highlands and Islands Sheep Strategy.

It targets commercial sheep production throughout Scotland with a focus on increasing the use of breeding technologies to improve the quality of the end product and cut costs.

The strategy represents a £300,000 spend on demonstration projects, on-farm training and research.

QMS chairman Donald Biggar said: "Encouraging more sheep enterprises to make use of breeding ­technologies such as Performance Recording and Estimated Breeding Values will help accelerate the genetic improvement of the Scottish sheep flock. This in turn will lead to an even better quality end product.

"Practical, on farm activities will be rolled out across Scotland to ensure as many sheep farmers as possible have a chance of taking part and this new strategy is a welcome complement to our successful Scotch Lamb marketing campaign and the policy development workshops being planned with NFUS and FWAG."

The strategy will be overseen by a steering group.

Its chairman Mamie Paterson said: "The Scottish sheep industry has been operating well below its true potential for far too long. The creation of a sheep strategy aimed at helping sheep farmers throughout Scotland face up to industry challenges is long overdue.

"I am confident that, as a result of the practical activities that are planned, we will see a difference by the end of the project."

The Scottish Sheep Strategy will receive annual funding of £100,000 from Quality Meat Scotland.