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November 2014

For members of the Texel Sheep Society • News and reports on our Incredible 40th Anniversary year • 145, 000 guinea sale topper for Knap Texel at Society Million pound sale • Youth promotions prove popular at Industry NSA Sheep Event • Top tour to Switzerland for breeders • Official sheep breed census marks “era of Texel” • Feature on Blencaer Texel “top Welsh flock” • Irish success at Society Sales and Awards


In Touch with Texel British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:


3 A year to remember! With much success for members from across the breadth of the UK, it has been a pleasure to be part of this great community. The investment with confidence in the Texel breed across all sectors has never been higher and this is a major credit to all that have helped to promote and develop our breed over the past 40 years. Our commercial sector craves certainty, consistency and sustainability and whist some promote their “ideals” or dabble with crossbreds, Texel is proving a very safe haven that producers can rely on “time after time”......... “here and now” even more so with volatile price changes, whether selling in the live or dead trade. To pick out all the highlights of the year has been the biggest challenge! My apologies if we have missed your special moment, our website has full reports on social, sales and shows and a bumper crop of great photos on our phanfare gallery, not forgetting our “tribute to our 40th year” a short video on our you-tube channel. Thanks for making the Texel Breed & Society what they are today! Well done and thank you. John Yates Chief Executive

Contents Pg 3 Welcome

Pg 4-11 Society Matters

Pg 12 Youth Focus

Pg 13-15 Lifestyle

Pg 16-17 Science into Practice

Pg 19 Vet Outlook

Pg 24 Society Fees If you want to offer feedback on the Society Promotions email


British Texel Sheep Society


Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy of the information contained in this publication, no responsibility can be accepted by the Society for any errors or any reliance on the use of information by readers.

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



Supreme Champion Royal Highland

Supreme Champion Great Yorkshire

Supreme Champion Royal Welsh

Supreme Champion Royal Ulster

Judges (clockwise from top right); Judge of Royal Welsh - Charlie Boden, Judge of the Royal Ulster - John McKerrow, Judge of Great Yorkshire Show - John Mellin, Judge of the Royal Highland - Yves Lacroix. Below; Judge of Devon County Show - John North

Supreme Champion Devon County Show

SOCIETY MATTERS AGM & 40th Anniversary Social Weekend 2014 Carden Park Hotel - Chester

If you missed it - you missed out! The AGM & Social weekend at Carden Park was an amazing event. Over 200 Members and friends celebrated the Society’s 40th Anniversary in style. The programme included a casino night experience and of course the Texel Challenge never have so many laughed at ... so many. With wellie wanging, haggis chucking, problem solving, duck herding, giant skiing and a Segway course the participants and spectators had a great time. The winners of the challenge were the red team consisting of... Henry Gamble, John Yates, Andy Barr, Roy Hughes, Peter Mitchell, Steve Smith, Helen Smith, Steve McLean, Aubrey Andrews and Rodney Blackhall, it is worth pointing out they also received the award for most disruptive disobedient team of the day! Well done to them all. We said goodbye to three long serving Directors and hello to three new ones, the winner of the Anniversary National Flock Competition was announced by Judge Brian MacTaggart and his lovely wife Janice, congratulations go to the Foster family, Springhill Texels representing Northern Ireland. The Sire of the Year trophy was presented to Pat & Barry Farrell who came over from EIRE to receive the award in person - Congratulations Pat & Barry and of course Oberstown Usain Bolt! Thank you to the Sponsors of the 40th Anniversary wine receptions - BOCM Pauls Ltd, Carrs Billington, CCM Auctions, GENESEEK Europe, Harrison & Hetherington, Lawrie & Symington, McCartneys North West Texel Breeders Club, and Trouw Nutrition The full album of photos is available to view from the Society website at

The 2015 venue will be announced before Christmas.... Miss it - Miss out!

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



6 Texel breeders have enjoyed an enviable summer of interbreed success across the country with a host of interbreed titles won by a large number of breeders. Perhaps the greatest achievement for the breed came at the Great Yorkshire Show where the Boden and Davies team picked up the individual interbreed title with their shearling ram Sportsmans Upperclass, a son of the 42,000gns Tullylagan Tonka. The breed also picked up the interbreed pairs championship at Yorkshire with Upperclass teaming up with a shearling ewe by Plasucha Tiger from Gordon Gray’s Ettrick flock. At the Royal Highland Ian Murray’s shearling ram took the reserve interbreed championship and then joined up with Procters Farm’s two crop ewe to take top spot in the interbreed pairs championship. Procters Farm were also successful at Cumberland Show, taking the interbreed title here too.

At Northumberland the Nesbitt family took the supreme interbreed award with their appropriately named aged tup Goldies Supreme, while Gordon Gray took the interbreed team of three championship.

Texel National Sales Highest Priced in 2014 Northern Ireland

The Three Counties Show, Malvern, saw Stephen and Caroline Williams take the interbreed title with their two shear ram Coolingel Thor, while at Devon County the Quick family took the top interbreed ticket with a shearling ewe. This gimmer then teamed up with the Chave family’s ram to clinch the interbreed pairs title for the breed. The Quicks were also victorious at Royal Cornwall, taking the interbreed championship with a two shear tup Caereinion Top Notch.

John Foster - Springhill V Tech - FTS1400952 sold at 4500gns


At Cheshire County in June Frank Rushton was victorious with his homebred shearling ram Freshfield Up And Ready, a Charben Trojan son, while the Freshfield flock was also supreme interbreed at Derbyshire County too. And early in the season at Nottinghamshire County Peter Longdin took the interbreed championship with his homebred shearling ewe by Knock Sequel.

Robert Cockburn - Knap Vicious Sid CKP1400025 sold at 145,000gns


Cefin Pryce - Caereinion U R the One PEC1300205 sold at 4,400gns


Above: Ian Murray and Jeff Aiken Champion Interbreed pairs RHAS 14 Right: Sportsmans Upperclass GYS & Cumberland Show 2014

Peter Woof - Stainton Vantage II WPS1400599 Sold for 5,400gns


40th Anniversary National Flock Competition 2014 Judged by Brian MacTaggart - Douganhill Texels Left: 40th Anniversary National Flock Competition Champion – Janice & Brian MacTaggart presenting to John & Helga Foster – Springhill Texels – Northern Ireland Below: Runners up - Angus & Helen McColm - Crailloch Texels

Springhill Texels - National Flock Competition Champions Judged by Brian MacTaggart of the Douganhill flock, Castle Douglas, the competition pitted 18 flocks from across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom against each other. Each flock had qualified for the competition as the winner of their own regional flock competition in either 2013 or 2014 and was judged in early October this year.

Dates for Your Diary 2015

The champion flock of the Fosters was champion in the Northern Irish flock competition in 2013 and is regularly among the leading prices at the Northern Irish Premier Sale. Taking the reserve championship was Angus and

Helen McColm’s Crailloch flock, which had come through as winner of the Solway and Tyne Texel Club’s flock competition this year. The Society thanks Brian MacTaggart for taking on this massive task, the Regional Clubs for their nominations & all the Flocks that took part.

Royal Show dates

Royal Ulster Show - 13-15 May Royal Highland Show - 18-21 June Norfolk County Show - 1-2 July (Southern England feature Show) Great Yorkshire Show - 14-16 July Royal Welsh Show - 20-23 July

National Sale dates

N.I National - 17-18 August Scottish National - 26-27 August Welsh National - 29 August English National - 31 Aug & 1 Sep

NSA Events, Shows & Sales

NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair Bakewell - 29 January NSA Welsh Sheep Glanmeheli and Drefor Farms, Kerry, Near Newtown - 19 May NSA North Sheep Millstone Moor Farm, Cockermouth, Cumbria - 3 June NSA South West Sheep Higher Nichols Nymet, Nichols Nymet, North Tawton - 16 June NSA Sheep Northern Ireland Ballymena Market,Woodside Road, Ballymena, Country Antrim - 6 July NSA Early Ram Sale Builth Wells - 3rd August NSA Wales & Borders Ram Sale Builth Wells - 21st September

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:


SOCIETY MATTERS Knap-Vicious-Sid-145Gns

The Irish Connection The strength and quality of Texel breeding in Northern Ireland was demonstrated clearly at this year’s Scottish National Sale, Lanark, with Northern Irish breeders having a hand in all three of the top priced lots. Recent years have seen some of the finest Texel genetics coming forward from Northern Irish breeders and this year proved the exceptional depth of breeding present in the province.

Cornmore-Velvet-Jacket8.5k Gns

This year’s top priced Texel at 145,000gns, Knap Viscous Sid from Robert Cockburn is a son of the 7500gns Tamnamoney Tuborg Gold, a ram bred in Richard Henderson’s Tamnamoney flock at Coleraine, Co Londonderry. Sid had stood fifth in the pre-sale show and had previously been first prize ram lamb at Lesmahagow Show and sold to Charlie Boden Sportsmans, Keith, Alan and Roy Campbell, Cowal, and Hugh and Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn.


Following closely after that was the year’s second best price, an 85,000gns bid for Cornmore Velvet Jacket from young first time vendor John Leitch, Castlederg, Co Tyrone. “This lamb was both bred in Northern Ireland and backed by Northern Irish breeding, being a son of the 42,000gns Tullylagan Tonka bred by the Hammond family, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.“He is out of a Sheeoch Ringmaster dam and was knocked down to John Forsyth, Glenside, and Alasdair Beatton, Wester Crosshill.” Brian Hanthorn then completed a clean sweep for Northern Irish breeders when selling Mullan Vivaldi at 52,000gns to Neil and Stuart Barclay, Harestone, Jim Innes, Strathbogie, and Graham Morrison, Deveronvale.Vivaldi is a son of Oberstown Usain Bolt son out of a Douganhill McFly dam.

Texels dominate Kelso Ram Sale Adding to Northern Irish breeding success was the top priced ram at this year’s Kelso ram sales which set a new all breeds record for the venue at £35,000, This was a shearling ram from Peter and Lynn Gray’s Scrogtonhead flock, Scrogtonhead Ustoater. He is a son of the 46,000gns Lanark purchase Foyle View Superstar bred by Michael Smyth, Limavady, Co Londonderry, out of a homebred dam by Cambwell Regal. This one had previously been interbreed champion at Newmilns and after a heated bidding battle was knocked down to Procters Farm, Clitheroe, under the management of Jeff Aiken. “It is always pleasing to see top quality Texel genetics in demand and the quality of Texels across the UK has never been higher. The breed is in a strong position, with 27% of the UK ram market and exceptional clearance rates in volume at all the National Sales this year as well as recent major commercial sales at Kelso and Builth Wells.”

Scrogtonhead Ustoater


Record Breaking “Million pound” sale Scottish National Texel Sale grosses £1,049,925 The 2014 Scottish National Texel Sale, Lanark, saw a solid trade from start to finish, with 390 ram lambs selling to average £2487.23, a rise of £177.68 on the year for 20 more sold. With the top two priced lambs both coming from young breeders it is pleasing to see that in the Society’s 40th anniversary year the younger generation are at the forefront of the breed. This year’s top priced Texel sold at 145,000gns, Knap Viscous Sid from Robert Cockburn.

Tagging Rules From 1st January 2015, you will need to record individual tag numbers for sheep that were tagged before 2010 on the movement document - except moves to slaughter (direct or through a market) which will continue to be batch reported. Using EID to do it is not obligatory although it may be a practical option. It is OK to move sheep with existing tags provided they are tagged as follows: Single tag if born before 2008. Double non-EID if born between 2008 and 2010. But DEFRA recommends that you should electronically identify these animals before they leave your holding. These animals in certain situations will need to be individually recorded at markets so they may require EID tags. Replacing lost (historic) tags – DEFRA recommends that an EID pair be inserted.

The sales 82% clearance rate for the ram lambs was the highest ever grossing sale of a single Terminal Sires Breed in UK history.

In-Lamb Club Sales 2014/15

The industry is calling on British sheep farmers to doubletag their historic flock to maximize selling options when they move off their holding after 1st January 2015. See the NSA news article: “Sheep farmers need to start thinking about electronic tagging their historic flock before January 2015 – or risk lower prices”

1st December

NORTH SCOTLAND CLUB SALE Thainstone Aberdeen & Northern Marts

5th December

NITBC CLUB SALE Hilltown Farmers Mart

6th December

GLOUCESTER & BORDERS CLUB SALE Worcester Worcester Livestock Market

12th December

SOLWAY & TYNE CLUB SALE Carlisle Borderway Mart

13th December

NORTHERN AREA TEXEL CLUB SALE Skipton Skipton Livestock Mart

18th December

SHROPSHIRE & BORDERS CLUB SALE Welshpool Welshpool Livestock Mart

The Society was sadly informed of the loss of some dear Members

19th December

SOUTH WALES CLUB IN LAMB SALE Llandovery Llandovery Market

3rd January

NORTH WEST IN-LAMB CLUB SALE Chelford Chelford Market

Charlotte Cobbald – 4th August Archie Clark – 14th July Carol Hanthorn – 28th September Dave Short – 24th October

10th January


Society Requirements The Society requires that you complete a “Historic Flock Re-Tagging Form” when any sheep tagged before 2010 are electronically re-tagged. The form can be found on the forms or call the Society office. The Society will amend the identification record on the Basco database for these sheep and maintain a crossreference to the old non EID tag number. Pedigree certificates for registered sheep should be returned with the form. New pedigree certificates will be issued for each registered electronically re-tagged sheep at a cost of £5

Our deepest sympathies go to the families, friends and colleagues

Obituaries 2014

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



Texels central to award winning farmer’s success Society Gene-Tex DNA sampling

You will all now be very familiar with the rules regarding DNA profiling of ET Donor ewes and sires born 2013 and onwards used in ET.

John Scott - Texels a firm favourite The British Texel Society is delighted to extend its congratulations to Ross-Shire sheep farmer John Scott and family for their triumph in the Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year 2014. Mr Scott’s 4000-ewe flock is heavily influenced by top quality Texel genetics, with the farm running a 135-ewe pedigree Texel flock producing Texel rams for both their own use and for sale to other sheep producers “John is an excellent sheep producer, using high quality Texels to drive his business forward and focusing on producing high genetic merit Texel rams for his customers, he has also innovated in his marketing strategy, hosting his own on-farm ram sale for the past three years and focusing on producing rams fit for purpose from a forage diet”. Alongside Mr Scott in the final three was Warwickshire commercial producer Martin Greenfield who runs 1000 Texel cross ewes all served by Texel tups, sourced from the Coton flock of Richard & Margaret Lawrence. Mr Greenfield’s 1000-ewe flock is based around top quality Texel genetics, consisting entirely of Texel x Mule and 3/4 Texel ewes all put to Texel sires to produce prime lambs for retailing through farmers markets, a local butchers shop and selling at local livestock markets.

Many members may want to ensure their ET lambs are entered into the 2015 national sales. All sheep entered into the sales must be Birth Notified. However, ET Birth Notifications can only be processed online or by the office IF the results of the DNA sampling have been received from the laboratory and published on our flockbook . From time of sampling to issue of results can be up to 6 weeks. To avoid your disappointment please ensure that you have sampled your sheep in good time. It is best to DNA profile them between now and Christmas.

2015 Embryo Transfer rules

For those of you that are considering ET in 2015, you are reminded that 2013 AND 2014 born sires along with all donor ewes must be DNA profiled to allow ET Birth Notifications in 2015.You can now check if the sheep have previously been DNA profiled by checking with the Society office or by viewing the Individual Animal Page on our flock book The page will show if the results are pending (ie the animal has been sampled/awaiting results) or if there is no information published then you should proceed to order the sample kits and/or liaise with the owner of the sheep if you are purchasing embryos/semen. It is your responsibility to ensure that rams not belonging to you and born 2013 onwards are DNA profiled. Do not assume that the owner of the ram will DNA test it.You must ensure that the DNA profile is carried out if you wish to submit ET birth notifications in 2015.

Ordering Kits

When ordering kits over the phone from the society office you must now advise the animal ID, this will ensure that pre printed bar code labels and ID labels are provided on each nasal tube.You should check carefully that you use the correct ID Nasal tube for each of your animals. Kits can now also be ordered on line.You will now be charged for each kit ordered, irrespective if you return the kits to the office.

Fees and deadlines for 2015 Keeping costs low for members using Society services remains a high priority for the Society Board. The 2015 fees sheet (see back cover) has been modified to offer simple pricing structure and continues the Boards approach to support online services and keep costs down both for members and the running of the Society. The standard fee for Birth Notification is £1.80 +VAT, this is still only 1pence higher than the standard fee in 2009. The early birth notification fees have now been removed as flocks continue to lamb later. The lowest Female registration fee is also held for the 7th year running at £5.25 +VAT. Whilst male registration and transfer fees are not currently eligible for online discounts, as we await Basco developments, these fees once online discounts are available will remain at or lower than the 2009 level. For now members are required to use the telephone or paper service fees. The cut off date for the standard birth notifications is now earlier to assist the peak operational time at the society office. Please ensure your birth notifications are inputted online or received by the office no later than 20th May.

Area 8 Pete Mitchell Avon Vale

Central Southern England (2014 - 2018) (Previously Aubrey Andrews - Miserden Texels)

Area 9 Graham Hill

John Davies, Nick Tavernor and Aubrey Andrews.

Regional Director Election Results 2014

Outgoing Directors in 2014


Rolle Texels

South West of England (2014 - 2018) (Previously Nick Tavernor - Salocin Texels)

Area 11 Adrian Windsor

Fern Texels - (2014 2018)

(Previously John Davies Aman Texels)

Area 12 Henry Gamble

Springwell Texels (2014 - 2018) Re-elected unopposed

Performance Recorded Texels Election

First Season Sire of the Year 2014 An overseas Sire was awarded the Texel Sheep Society’s Sire of the Year award for the first time. This year’s winner of the award which is presented to the breeder of the first season sire who’s best selling three sons record the highest average at the Society’s National Sales, was Eire bred Oberstown Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt was bred by Pat and Barry Farrell of the Oberstown flock and was bought at the Irish Texel Sheep Society’s National Sale in August 2013 by Paul O’Connor for his Drumgooland flock, Seaforde, Co Down. His three sons with the highest average were sold at the Scottish Premier Sale and the Northern Irish Premier Sales. The three lambs recorded an average price of 19,500gns (£20,475).

1st Season Sire - Oberstown Usain Bolt Dam






Mullan Vivaldi - HBN1400934




Mullan Van Gogh - HBN1400937




Springwell Viera - GRS1401411


Aubrey Andrews

Re-stood for a 4 year term unopposed - 2014 - 2018

Youth Development Programme Election Area A - Scotland

Kerr Jarvie

Re-stood for a 5 year term unopposed - 2014 - 2019

Sire of the Year trophy being presented to Pat & Barry Farrell (Oberstown Texels) by Henry Gamble, (Society Chairman) with Sinead Brophy (Southern Ireland Texel Society Secretary)

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



Texel Sheep Society YDP Charity Stock Judging Competition Presentation

The Texel Sheep Society Educational Awards for 2014

were awarded to the students who attained the highest mark on a sheep production related Honours Research Project. The awards of £250 are offered to four Universities representing Northern Ireland, Greenmount - Scotland, SRUC - Wales, Aberystwyth University and England, Harper Adams.

John Yates presenting the Texel Society cheque to Linda Jones. (L - R) Anna Minnice-Hughes (Texel YDP Secretary), Linda Jones (RABI) John Yates (Society CE) and Helen Davies (NSA)

2014 winning recipients.... The Welsh National Texel Sale, Welshpool, was the venue for the cheque presentation for the Texel Sheep Society Youth Development Programme stock judging competition which took place at the Sheep Event, Malvern, in July. Receiving the cheque on behalf of RABI was Linda Jones, RABI’s Welsh coordinator, with the cheque presented by Texel Society Chief Executive John Yates.

SRUC Ping Zhou

Greenmount Kyle Boyd

Commenting on the fund raising efforts Mr Yates said it had proved to be a tremendous success, with the initiative providing support for the wider Agricultural community. £350 was raised on the day and this was match funded by the Society, giving a total donation of £700 to RABI. Top prize in the competition was a new lamb weigh crate, donated by IAE and Charlies Stores, which was won by Peter Holden of High Bold Venture Farm, Oswaldtwistle. Mr Holden’s entry was randomly drawn from those gaining the highest points total in the competition which required entrants to judge pens of shearling rams and shearling ewes and match their selection with that of master judge, Society Chairman, Henry Gamble.


2015 Birth Notifications start with… Harper Adams Miss Gwenllian Haf Thomas

Aberystwyth Sally Alice North

Winner Wonder

Wellard Walter


13 After travelling up the beautiful Simmental valley we arrived at the summer residence of Fritz and Maria Santschi, Alp Colonda Jeur, in La Lecherette. The milk from their Simmental cows was mostly used to make cheese. We were privileged to watch the cheese being brought out of the huge copper cauldron and pressed into moulds. And even more privileged to enjoy a wonderful lunch of home produced beef, cheese and cream.

Anniversary trip to Switzerland By Joyce Laird

British Texel Tour of The Bernese Oberland June 2014 As we were reminded each morning by our wonderful guide Kathrin Buehler as we boarded our minibus at 8pm sharp- this was not a holiday!! Our intimate group of eight visited three sheep farms, two dairies, a chocolate factory, Gruyere, Lucerne and the valleys of Simmental and Emmental travelling around 800km in four days! The sun was blazing as we began our epic tour at the relatively large farm of Sepp and Susi Wyss, Froburg, in Wisen who have 50 Texels and 60 Limousin. He will sell his ewe lambs for CHF 500 (ÂŁ325) and his ram lambs for between CHF 1000 and 1400, some privately to Italy. His stock rams had been bought from the largest importer of British Texels, Heinz Pluess. He uses his stock rams year on year, selling all his home bred ram lambs. Texels were recognised as a breed in Switzerland in 2007 with imports from Holland, France and Germany. In 2013, 1492 Texels were registered in the flock book. The first English Texels were imported in 2009 by Heinz Pluess. His summer residence at Iseltwald clings to the side of the mountain where his sheep were grazing at 1100m. We all thoroughly enjoyed the whole barbequed lamb the family had prepared for us as admired amazing views over the Lake. For around 100 days during the summer, the sheep are grazed on high summer pastures called Alps (1400m) to allow hay to be made on the home farms. Lynx and wolves are a constant problem for the shepherds. On returning from the Alps in September, lambs of 40-44Kg are sold to butchers or processors. Others are bought by butchers and put into a roaming flock in the lowlands where they are looked after by a shepherd and will fatten cheaply and naturally. Top quality lambs achieve CHF 10.80/Kg. The Swiss consume about 1.3Kg of lamb per head of population (they consume 12.5Kg of chocolate!) with 40% home produced. A local butcher who processes 400 lambs per week recognises the importance of the Texel for carcase quality.

Full of cheese, we then travelled to Broc to the Chocolate factory, Maison Cailler to fill ourselves with chocolate before strolling round the beautiful old town of Gruyere. A very interesting tour of Lucerne was followed by a visit to Emscha, a milk sheep farm in Entlebuch, owned by Peter and Heidi Hofstetter. More cheese sampling before seeing the milk parlour where 240 sheep are milked. This was a very forward thinking family with a dairy, processing unit, visitor centre and renewable energy from turbines and solar panels. Probably quite good that we did not sample the mozzarella cheese from the water buffalo farm in Schangnau, our cholestrol was already sky high! Our tour ended with a spectacular cog and cable car ride to the Niederhorn (1950m) where we looked across to the summer grazing pastures of our guide Kathrin Half of the million hectares of agricultural land in Switzerland is farmed and half is leased. Advances in technology have seen the farming workforce decrease and generally farms of less than 30 hectares are in decline. The 435,000 sheep are not economically important and are kept to graze the high pastures which are too steep for cattle to graze and to maintain a tidy landscape. Perhaps Texel sheep can change this? We would like to give a special thank you to Kathrin, a perfect guide and Texel enthusiast whose thoughtfulness and friendliness made this trip so special. Best wishes to the British Texel Society for the next 40 years and beyond!

The beautiful hot sunny days we experienced meant that hay making was in full swing. Gradient is not a problem; in fact it seemed that steeper was better! Excellent 8 wheeled self propelled machines for the job, making sure every last blade is collected. Most farms take 3 cuts, blowing the hay up into the lofts of the sheds where some places baled at a later date. The farmers are subsidised to conserve natural resources and protect the cultural landscape with organic farming becoming more important. From 2014 subsidies are based on the number of hectares farmed.

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



Blaencar Texels

Geoff and Carol Morgan. Brecon Beacons South Wales

close to its qualities. The breed’s versatility to produce a superior carcass or an excellent breeding ewe for the commercial flock makes it the best terminal sire.’’ In 2007 the Morgans purchased Crookholm Nickname, the first prize ram lamb at Worcester. ‘’He had a tremendous carcass and skin and left us with some excellent females,’’ says Geoff. Additional ewes have since been sourced from Loosebeare, Caereinion and Penparc. ‘’We always try to buy one or two ewes a year just to get some different bloodlines,’’ says Eifion, who works as a chartered surveyor with Smiths Gore as well as helping his parents on the farm during his free time.

As the names of the contenders for the All Wales Texel Flock Competition were being announced, Geoff and Carol Morgan wrongly assumed that their Blaencar flock had been placed fourth. They had in fact won this prestigious competition but the misunderstanding sums up the modesty of this couple. “The chairman announced the names of the four contenders and, as our flock was named first, we assumed we hads been placed fourth. Geoff’s face was a picture when we realised we had actually won,’’ Carol recalls. “We are relative newcomers so it was great honour to win.” The Blaencar flock prefix takes its name from the home farm, a 475 acre holding on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, near Sennybridge. Geoff,

Carol and their two sons, Eifion and Alun, moved to the farm in 1998. They have since established a flock of 900 commercial ewes - a mixture of Texel and Suffolk-cross ewes and some Welsh Mules. The farm also supports a suckler herd of Limousin-cross cows served to a Charolais bull. Up to 20 Texel tups were being used every year on the commercial flock so in 2003 the decision was taken to invest in some pedigree Texel ewes for ram production. Two in-lamb ewes were bought at the breed sale in Carlisle and each produced a ewe lamb. “Over the next few years we continued to buy a couple of ewes at the annual in-lamb sales,’’ Geoff explains. There was never any doubt that the breed of choice for the pedigree flock would be anything other than a Texel. “In my youth I enjoyed spending time with Keith Jamieson and his family and always admired his outstanding Annan Texel flock,’’ says Geoff.

“In my opinion there is no other breed that comes anywhere

“We have always looked for ewes with length, conformation and good legs. It’s a bonus if they’ve got a pretty head, but the body has to be the priority. The majority of our rams are sold at the main NSA sale in Builth Wells. We also take some of our smarter lambs to Worcester but we find we don’t really have the head to compete with some of the other breeders.’’ Sale highlights include 2,200 guineas for Blaencar Top Gun and 1,600 guineas for Blaencar Terminator; both animals were sold to breeders at Worcester in 2012. The flock also achieved the top average for a pen of ram lambs at the Builth NSA sales in 2012 and 2013.

A number of tups are also retained for use in the commercial flock. Lambs are sold from June through to December, either to Waitrose through the Aberystwyth-based Livestock Marketing or to St Merryn. At least 90 per cent of the carcasses achieve E and U grades and an average deadweight of 20.5kg.. “We prefer to sell deadweight, it allows us to follow up the

15 lambs to see how they kill out and this gives us confidence that we are producing an ideal ram to suit the commercial buyers,’’ says Geoff. To date, the Morgans haven’t sold any of their Texel females but this is set to change; the intention is to enter some at various sales later in 2014. In autumn 2011 embryo transplant was used for the first time. ‘’We didn’t really know a great deal about it or how successful it would be, but we wanted to increase the number of females out of our three best ewes, Crookholm, Courthill and Loosebeare,’’ Carol explains. The sires used were Straidarran Ranger and Knock Orion. ‘’Our first year proved hugely successful with our Crookholm ewe producing nine ewe lambs,’’ says Geoff. “Many were retained and they were part of the 2013 gimmer group that won the South Wales Flock competition. This has given us a good foundation to our flock, although embryo transfer work has since been a slightly hit or miss.

tups. We try to go to Lanark every year, but this year we only marked three or four lambs that suited us,” Geoff says.

In 2013, the Morgans joined the South Wales Texel Breeders Club and entered the flock competition for the first time. Not only did they win the best group of gimmers but they were also named the best medium flock before progressing to be awarded Champion South Wales Flock. The ultimate accolade then

Although the demands of the farm leave little time for exhibiting at shows, the Morgans do compete at a small number during the summer months and with good success. At the 2009 Royal Welsh Show one of their ram lambs was placed third in a class of 70 at the 2009 Royal Welsh Show. They also won the interbreed champion at Brecon County Show in 2012 with a homebred ewe. “If time allowed, we would like to attend more shows as it provides us with an excellent shop window for our stock,’’ says Carol. Currently, the Morgans have no plans to increase the flock size because of their existing workload. With the commercial ewe flock and suckler cow herd, together

“We will however continue to AI and embryo transfer in the future as it is the only way to keep improving our flock. It allows us to concentrate on our best ewes and to access top proven rams without the high purchase cost.”

The pedigree flock lambs in mid-February and this season achieved a scanning percentage of 190. “They are good mothers with plenty of milk,’’ says Geoff. The commercial flock lambs from the middle of March. The ewes are scanned in early January. The Texels are then housed and fed round bale silage while the commercial ewes remain outdoors on swedes and silage until the beginning of March. This season, the sires used on the pedigree ewes were Auldhouseburn Umbro, a ram lamb purchased at Lanark in 2013, and Brackenbridge Strongbow. ‘’We’re quite fussy when it comes buying

followed when the Blaencar flock was named as the All Wales Champion Flock in 2013. “When the result was announced at the Royal Welsh Show it was quite unbelievable to hear that we had won. It was fantastic, a real day to remember,’’ says Geoff. Another highpoint of last year was an open day they hosted in September for the South Wales Texel Breeders. Although the weather could have been kinder, the event was a huge success, attracting 140 people. “We had managed to set everything up in the sheds so the rain did not spoil the day,” says Carol.

with a busy farmhouse bed and breakfast business, there is little time to spare at Blaencar. “We only have extra help at lambing time,” says Geoff.

“We have had an exceptional year and our aim now is to keep improving the quality and genetics of the flock. Currently we are not recording but believe it is something we need to look at in the future.”

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:



17 Texel Sheep Society drives genetic innovation in UK sheep industry

Texels driving change in GB sheep industry Texels are well and truly cemented at the heart of GB sheep production, according to figures released in EBLEX’s British Sheep Breeds Survey. The results of the survey which took place in 2012 show Texels as the most dominant sire breed with a 27% share of the ram market, and the second most widespread breed, with North Country Mules being the most widespread. On the ram side the Texels comprised more than a quarter of all rams in Britain and were found on nearly 18,000 farms. In the last 40 years since the first importations of Texels were made in to the UK the breed has adapted to the wide variety of climatic and topographic conditions. But, what is perhaps most marked is the overall impact of the breed on the industry, with Texel crosses also accounting for 1.6m crossbred ewes too, more than 12% of the total National ewe flock . RAM CHOICE Major change in GB Stratified industry 1971 (86:14) to 2012: (55:45) – lowland breeding influence • Half the rams used in GB are Terminal Sire • 27% are Pure Texel (add x-derivatives and it is significant) • The genetic composition of the sires of the lamb crop is Terminal Sire breeds at 68% & Hill breeds 12% • Terminal Sire breeds provide 45% of the genes in carcases produced

Tackling one of the UK sheep industry’s most underestimated health problems, mastitis, will be easier in future thanks to pioneering new research being undertaken by the British Texel sheep Society (BTSS) in collaboration with SRUC. Thanks to a £450,000 project award from the Technology Strategy Board, BTSS will be using the very latest genomic technology to investigate the role of genetics in controlling the disease. The unique research, which would be conducted across both pedigree and commercial flocks the length and breadth of the UK, was designed to identify those bloodlines that are more resistant to mastitis. “Mastitis is without doubt one of the least understood and most costly health problems faced by the sheep sector, with reports suggesting it affects about 5% of breeding ewes. There are very few treatment options and currently no effective preventative treatments. “Crucially, like many other diseases, mastitis has a genetic component to resistance. Using the very latest genome screening techniques the research will identify bloodlines of sheep that are more resistant to mastitis.” The research was the first step in the Society’s quest to better understand a number of key diseases affecting UK sheep producers and identify those animals with greater genetic resistance to them. “The project will create a valuable enhancement to the Society’s dataset by including disease phenotypes. Initially this will focus on mastitis, but the intention is to include additional traits such as footrot and faecal egg counts. “The availability of new genomic ‘SNP chip’ technology for sheep that is specific to mastitis and tailored for use in the Texel breed will propel the Society and its breeders in to the genomic era”. “Using genomics to identify those bloodlines resistant to key diseases will enable breeders to pursue breeding objectives allied to the requirements of the commercial sheep producers, combining key productivity and health traits in their future breeding plans.

PURE EWE CHOICE • 13.1M National flock (2.2M less than in 2003) • Ratio of purebred to cross bred ewes is now 44:56 . In 2003 this was 50:50 • Pure Ewes - LLEYN is now the largest none hill breed and have ~474K ewes, 3.6% of national flock - TEXEL are second most popular non hill breed with 2.3% of National flock - 304k ewes

Importantly, due to the Texel breed’s extensive influence on the UK sheep industry the results of this research will be felt widely across the sheep sector. “There are more than 1.6m Texel sired breeding ewes in the national flock, representing more than 12% of all ewes, and 27% of all rams used in the UK are Texels.

CROSS BRED EWE CHOICE • Cross bred ewes - NC Mules were most popular x-bred ewe found on 20% of farms with 12.6% of national flock and 1.62M ewes - TEXEL being next most widespread with 1.6M which is 12% of National flock - BFL sired crosses totalled 2.8M, or 21.3% - Suffolk had 0.9M ewes, or 6.8%

Joanne Conington who is leading the research at SRUC, said the project would implement the first commercially-available genomic breeding values for mastitis resistance in meat sheep in Europe.


“Therefore, the potential influence from this and future disease resistance research on the wider industry is beyond comparison in the sheep sector. The benefits of these genomic breeding advances will quickly be felt by those commercial producers placing Texels at the heart of their flocks”.

“Genomic breeding values will improve the accuracy of selection of sheep more resistant to mastitis, and in the future, enable farmers to select future male breeding stock without having to wait for their daughters to become lactating ewes to generate data on mastitis. “Genomic technology is particularly attractive for use in sheep for such characteristics that are only expressed in females such as maternal traits or for disease and meat quality traits because they are typically difficult or expensive to measure.”

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:


An opportunity to purchase the adult section of Nick Tavernor’s

SALOCIN TEXELS Est: 1978 - 5 x Winner SW Flock competition 35 ewes for sale as a flock by private treaty all tupped by RASCARREL UMBRIA - MTR1300436 14 Shearlings sired by MILLHOUSE TRADITION—HNL1200635 MILLHOUSE TRADITION Wishing to start or expand a Texel Flock? Ring Nick on 07977 274 040 and arrange a visit

Gloucester & Border Counties Club Annual “Christmas Present” In-Lamb Gimmer, Ewe Lamb Show & Sale

Saturday 6th December 2014 at Worcester Market

Tel: McCartneys on

01905 769770

VET OUTLOOK Kath Dun BVM&S, Cert SHP, MRCVS – currently working in mixed practice with the Merlin Vet Group, Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Graduated from the Royal (Dick) Vet School, Edinburgh 1992, after 2 years in practice in Aberdeenshire, returned to the Dick Vet and worked in the Dick Vet Farm Animal Practice for 18 years. Special interest in sheep health and production. Secretary of the Sheep Veterinary Society. Farms at home with husband on sheep and beef farm in the Scottish Borders. Liver Fluke: The two consecutive wet summers of 2011 and 2012 led to some horrendous problems with liver fluke in UK flocks in autumn and winter 2012/2013. Traditionally, the wetter areas of the west coast are where liver fluke was thought to predominate, however the problem has now spread vastly and there are very few areas of the country which have not experienced issues with the liver fluke, fasciola hepatica. With a warmer and drier summer this year, the question on everyone’s lips at the moment is “what do we do about liver fluke in our sheep this year?...........” A method of predicting the likely incidence of fluke outbreaks was developed more than 50 years ago. Forecasts are based on the weather data from May to September and include the number of days of rain, the total rainfall and evaporation levels. Forecasts obviously can vary from region to region and can be found at and in the farming press. By using fluke forecasts and knowledge of your own farm grazing conditions and previous fluke incidence, the risk factors can be

established for your flock. So, what we must not do, is to become complacent about the risk of fluke problems this year – even with the dry summer we have had and where the fluke forecast is low or average, don’t be caught out by assuming there is no risk to your stock, especially where you have a “flukey” farm. In dry conditions the best grazing is often found near watercourses and more permanent wet areas of fields. These areas will still be harbouring the mud snails required for the completion of the liver fluke lifecycle and infective fluke cysts are likely to be found on grazing close by. In a dry year it might be worthwhile to fence off these areas. Discuss with your vet the control measures for your individual flock and formulate a strategic dosing plan if necessary. Traditional dosing for fluke with triclabendazole in October and then with closantel or nitroxynil in January may be sufficient to control the problem this year, but it is always advisable to monitor fluke activity via faecal egg counts during the winter months. There have been reports of resistance to triclabendazole emerging throughout the country – this can be assessed using faecal egg counts or the newly available faecal copro-antigen test – seek advice from your vet or local veterinary investigation centre.

Ultrasound Scanning Results: Many early lambing flocks will be ultrasound scanning in the next month or so. It is important to discuss results with your vet where you have more barren ewes and/or less lambs than expected and there is no obvious reason to account for the situation. Last year many flocks experienced poor scans and much of the problem was attributed to the continual awful wet weather leading to poor ewe condition and weather-related stress around tupping time. Sub-acute liver fluke was also implicated in many flocks. It would certainly be unlikely for the weather to be blamed for high barren rates this year and the hope would be that in most flocks sub-acute liver fluke should have had less of a contribution to poor fertility. Diagnosis of the cause of poor scanning rates can be difficult because so many different management variables are involved. Where there are a high number of barren ewes, we must also consider infectious causes such as toxoplasmosis,

19 Border Disease, Tick-borne fever and of course in many areas of the country, Schmallenberg Virus. Trace element deficiencies can also be implicated, with selenium and iodine levels particularly relevant for good conception rates. Some simple blood testing of barren ewes should help to identify any flock problems. Although many breeders are using AI in flocks, individual tup fertility problems have to be considered where follow-up tups are used – pre-breeding fertility soundness and semen testing of tups is always a useful tool to have used prior to tupping.

Sheep Scab….keep vigilant: Here in the Scottish Borders we have seen a couple of outbreaks of sheep scab in the past month. Despite increased awareness and improved biosecurity on many sheep farms, scab seems to rear its ugly head on an alarmingly regular basis. Any sheep which are Itching must be investigated by a vet to get a definitive diagnosis of the cause. With the decrease in use of OP plunge dipping in the UK, the incidence of lice in sheep has escalated. However, if the assumption of a louse problem is made incorrectly where sheep scab is actually the problem, the consequences could be severe, especially when the problem is diagnosed at lambing time. Treatment by plunge dipping in OP solutions is the only method which will deal with both sheep scab and lice. More commonly however, a suspected lice problem diagnosed by the farmer will either be left untreated or will be treated by a cypermethrin pour-on – this product will have no effect on the mite psoroptes ovis which causes sheep scab. If not dipping in OP, sheep scab must be treated by either injectable moxidectin or doramectin solutions. So, take home message…….get your vet to examine and skin scrape any itchy sheep, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE….. and certainly before lambing starts. Untreated scab when you are lambing is a nightmare and results in all newborn lambs potentially being infected with scab and requiring to be treated.

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:


SHROPSHIRE & BORDERS CLUB Evening Sale of In-Lamb Females

on Tuesday 30th December 2014 at Welshpool Market Call Welshpool Livestock Sales

on 01938 553 438


SALE - 100 In-Lamb Gimmer Carlisle Monday, 5th January, 2015

Alwent & Arkle Flocks Plus guest consignment from Hallbeath


The entire 2014 crop of Gimmers In Lamb to the following noted sires:Allanfauld Rockafella - 18,000gns Goldies Supreme 10,500gns Brackenridge Underdog - 4,500gns Clinterty U.S.A 13,000gns Cambwell Rob Roy - 40,000gns


Approx 45 selected Females In lamb to the following noted sires:Milnbank Vantastic - 12,000gns Cambwell Rob Roy - 40,000gns

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:


The Twilight Texel Sale Friday 5th December

At 6.30pm at Borderway Mart, Carlisle Tel: 01228

406 230



Tuesday 30th December 1pm Hilltown Livestock Mart, BT34 5YN Tel: 028406 30287 Main service sires Tullylagen Tonka - Eglur Viscount - Hartside Volt Springhill V-Tech - Knap Vogue - Forkins Versace Five consignors:

Mullan Vivaldi sold for 52,000gns

Blackstown • Fairmount • Mullan Springwell • Tullagh with guest consignor: Braehead Approx. 100 females



SHEEP SOCIETY The Board of Directors, Chief Executive and staff at the Texel office, wish all Members and friends of the Society a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629, Fax: 024 7669 6472, Email:

SOCIETY FEES 2015 This Notice supersedes all previous notices of costs and overrides any printed material which you may have in your possession.

12.5% discount

All fees take effect from January 1st 2015

2015 Male and Female Birth Notifications 1st Jan 20th May in Year of Birth

21st May 31st Dec in Year of Birth

1st January following year of Birth Onwards











(£2.16 Inc VAT)

(£2.44 Inc VAT)

(£12.00 Inc VAT)

Paper £112.75 (£135.30 Inc VAT)

(£13.53 Inc VAT)

16th June YOB - 31st October in year following YOB


for Stand ard Birth No tification Deadlines

1st November year following YOB onwards











(£6.30 Inc VAT)

(£7.10 Inc VAT)

(£6.84 Inc VAT)

Male Registrations and Import Registrations (having previously been birth notified) Method Cheque/DD

Tel/Paper £29.60

(£35.52 Inc VAT)

(£7.72 Inc VAT)


New Da

Female Registrations and Import Registrations (having previously been birth notified) By 15th June in Year of Birth (YOB)

for online fees

Online £8.50

(£10.20 Inc VAT)

Tel/Paper £9.58

(£11.50 Inc VAT)

Transfers (only fully registered sheep can be transferred) In 2009 S Method




(£13.54 Inc VAT)

tandard Birth No tifications cost £1.7 In 2015 th 9 e cost is still only £1.80

Terms of Membership (Please note new members Adult fees will now only be accepted by Direct Debit payment)

Submit your flock data online and save 12.5% (applies only to notifications/registrations) when compared to Tel/Paper fees. (Not including Membership & Subscription fees)

Adult Joining Fee - £60.00 (Inc VAT) Payable now Annual Subscription fee - £54.21 (Inc VAT) Payable now

The VAT Inclusive prices include VAT at 20% and may be adjusted at any time.

Junior (up to age 21) Joining Fee - Free Annual Subscription fee - £27.11 (inc VAT) Payable now

For purchased rams that require male registration, the Society requires “proof of purchase” in the form of a “ram docket” or a copy of the” invoice of sale”.

Texel Sheep Society 2014 November Bulletin  
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