Primestock A Texel Sheep Society publication
Issue 2 â€“ Spring 2012
Innovative grassland management key to low input business strategy Ensuring Premium lamb prices
Texels assisting producers to a
versatile meat breed tried, Texel, the
proven and matched perfectly to UK Conditions.
Assessing lambs to ensure they hit spec Texel boost bottom line Texel ticks all the boxes for award winning butcher
ur Enter o e Priz
Fr ee Draw
to win a Ritchie Weigh Crate
National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 02476 696 629 Fax: 02476 696 472 email@example.com www.texel.co.uk
â€œAssessing a lambs level of conformation is vital to determine the correct time to sell and so maximise potential returnsâ€?
Contents 4-9 Grassland Management 10-18 The Texel connection 19-24 Satisfying the processers 25-26 Win a weigh crate free prize draw
Chief Executives introduction Im pleased to introduce our second edition of Primestock aimed at improving best practice in the use of Texel sired lambs. Improving production efficiency remains the main objective for our valuable and diverse industry. This offers both opportunity and challenge, choosing Texel provides many advantages to producers farming across a wide range of environment and climatic conditions. Additionally, focusing on improving forage production remains essential to all ruminant livestock sectors and is a low cost natural resource readily available. These are interesting times for forage farmers, the droughts experienced by many affected output considerably. New seed mixtures are available to help maintain yields, as are innovative use of legumes such as Red Clover. Many producers now also take advantage of root crops including Chicory, that has drought resistant properties as well as being a high yielding perennial with rich source of minerals and anthelmintic effects. Excellent in the ongoing combat of managing internal parasites. Lastly the producer must capitalise on his efforts and ensure that lambs are finished effectively and to market specification. Producers should regularly handle lambs, treat them as individuals and offer them to specific market outlets. Identifying these specific outlets, understanding their requirements and assessing your lambs against this criteria will allow you to optimise your flock returns. Choosing Texel to increase productivity provides a simple, versatile and proven solution to your prime lamb production. John Yates Chief Executive British Texel Sheep Society
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Acknowledgement The Society thanks all those who have contributed in the creation of this production.
While every effort is made to ensure accuracy of information contained within the Texel Sheep Society publication 2011 no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions or any reliance on use of the information to readers. All prices and information is correct at time of going to press. www.texel.co.uk three
Clover & Fertility Dr Liz Genever, Sheep Scientist, EBLEX
“Important to remember that red clover needs to make up more than 20% of the dry matter of a ewes diet to have an input on fertility”
Red clover is a short-lived perennial legume that typically lasts for two to four years. In contrast to white clover, it has an upright growth habit and a strong deep taproot. An increasing amount of red clover is being grown, generally for high protein silage production with some aftermath grazing for finishing lambs or cattle. Its benefits include nitrogen fixation (200-300 kg N per ha per year), yields (10-15t of dry matter per ha per year) and feed value (silage of 10-11 MJ of ME and 14-19% crude protein). It is also a useful break crop within an arable rotation. However, red clover has a PR problem, as most sheep producers think it causes infertility and therefore avoid it like the plague. This is partially true - it can affect ewe fertility at certain times of the year - but work from Australia shows that it has no impact on ram fertility. It is also important to remember that the red clover needs to make up more than 20% of the dry matter of a ewe’s diet to have an impact. The reason this occurs is that red clover (and diseased white clover) contains phytooestrogens, which interfere with the normal hormone balance in the ewe. If ewes are fed red clover (fresh or ensiled) around tupping, the phyto-oestrogens seem to affect egg transportation from the ovaries, which appears to be why lambing percentage can be reduced by 35-50%. Once the ewes have been removed from the red clover, normal function will resume within a month. The consumption of fresh or ensiled red clover around lambing appears to have no impact on lamb losses. If ewes are exposed to red clover for more than four months of the year, it can start to
have other effects. Changes can happen to the cervix and its mucus, which can affect the amount of sperm allowed to pass to the eggs. The ovaries appear to be unaffected, but conception rates will be reduced, and these changes may become permanent. However, in most UK systems, long term grazing of red clover is unlikely. Ewes may be weaned onto it in the spring and graze it with their lambs for a couple of months, or fed it as silage during late pregnancy. Red clover is too rich to put ewes on it during their dry period, they shouldn’t be put on it during the late autumn due to the tupping risk and it doesn’t grow in the winter. It is important to consider any ewe lambs that are being kept as replacements, and limit their exposure to red clover to less than four months. However, the ability of a ewe to be fertile on oestrogenic pastures is extremely heritable (estimated h2 of 0.73), so it can be bred into a flock. In summary, red clover can work very well within a sheep system, as it produces very good silage for late pregnancy feeding with reduced needs for supplementation, and provides aftermath grazing for finishing lambs. But as with all good things, it isn’t without its downsides – just manage your pre-tupping ewes and possible ewe replacements carefully. Further information: EBLEX manual - Managing clover for Better Returns (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0870 251 8829 for a copy)
Getting the right
grazing management in a challenging climate Huge variability in rainfall and ground conditions creates a variety of challenges for livestock producers across the entire UK. Monitoring grass growth in drought areas is important to assess if early ewe supplementation is necessary.
Supplementation will be necessary when sward height is less than 4cm,When above 4cm, monitoring is crucial to see how pasture is progressing. Ideally grass should be maintained at 4 cm to maintain quality. “Sward height may be lower than ideal in some areas. Producers in dry areas need to be aware that even if grass looks good and ewes are turned out onto target grass swards, the difficulty may come two – three weeks later when lack of moisture will mean grass growth won’t occur” Looking to drought resistant crops such as festuloliums to mitigate future risk
In contrast, some regions experience very wet conditions, with grass heights of more than 6cm – something which could result in reduced quality. Grazing wet fields will also result in poaching, reducing palatability and lower animal performance. Block grazing pastures to reduce damage and back fence.
Grasses & Clovers
for the future Eblex supporting innovation Low phosphorus Work part-funded by EBLEX is developing new varieties with much lower phosphorus requirements. This is important because supplies of fertiliser phosphorus are limited with no synthetic alternative. Losses of this nutrient are also associated with environmental damage. Enhanced N uptake Grass varieties with enhanced nitrogen uptake and use efficiency are being developed, along with lines of red clover that leach less nitrates into ground water. Increase rumen N use New work is aiming to increase nitrogen utilisation in the rumen of grazed perennial ryegrass and white clover. The new varieties will be tested in field experiments and in diets fed to livestock. Water-use Other work is aimed at improving water use efficiency in grasses and clovers. As well as the novel traits of interest, all new varieties are being tested for important agronomic traits, to ensure they combine the yield and quality characteristics demanded of modern grass or clovers. New varieties from this work have already entered national and recommended list trials. Projects are sponsored by Defra through the Sustainable Livestock Production (SLP) LINK programme in associated with IBERS Aberystwyth University, Germinal Holdings Ltd, British Grassland Society (BGS), AHDB-Dairy Co, Livestock and Meat Commission of Northern Ireland (LMCNI) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Visit www.greener-grasslands.ibers.aber. ac.uk for more information
Making more from grass!
Edited Feature courtesy of Farmers Weekly
“The main aim is to feed to the ewes’ requirements, to ensure enough nutrients are available for the developing lambs”.
Good grassland husbandry is the key of a successful sheep farming enterprise, and a focus on a low-input grass-based system pays dividends. Together with sons Gregor and Bruce and daughter Amy, the Ingram family keep more than 2,000 ewes, split separately into four different flocks, at Logie Durno Farm, near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. Some animals are sold as breeding stock to producers up and down the country, and the rest are sold to Woodheads for Morrisons. William says: “Grassland management is very undervalued in the UK sheep industry. We are now reliant on grassland husbandry and less reliant on the use of concentrates.” And improved grassland management can, in essence, increase the acreage of grass available for grazing. In fact, the family says they are focused on increasing the kg of lamb produced from every acre of land used.
“Grassland management is very undervalued in the UK sheep industry. We are now reliant on grassland husbandry and less reliant on the use of concentrates.” When it comes to grazing, a lot of the land the family uses is rented from other farmers. And they aim to re-seed their own fields every three to four years and apply any lime if soil mapping shows it is necessary; the presence of white clover in some grazing leys reduces reliance on nitrogen fertiliser. William adds: “Another thing is we don’t put any artificial fertiliser on the grass, just farmyard manure. The sheep seem to perform far better when the grass isn’t too far ahead. Previously when we were using fertiliser, it was expensive, and we found the sheep struggled with the rich grass.”
Another important factor in the Ingrams’ approach to grassland management is attention to detail with residuals – all grass must be properly grazed down before winter and during the summer months it must not reach above 2-2.5in. William adds: “We try and work 4.5 ewes and lambs to the acre in the summer time, whereas a lot of people will probably be aiming for more. And we find that because it’s not fertilised, you actually get a second growth of grass in September/October time. “I would say what we do here suits us, but it might not suit everyone. But what’s going to happen in the future is that there’s going to be a lack of land, so we have to make sure that the animals are performing to their full potential now.” Every aspect of the Ingrams’ farming enterprise is geared around making more from grass, and lambing is no different; the family has devised a regime that takes advantage of the grazing system, explains Carole. Lambing time The main ewe flock are lambed in batches from late March onwards, so they can be put out to grazing as soon as possible. “Most of the sheep are outwintered, and they come back to the home farm just before lambing time. They are then split up by the group they are due to lamb in,” he adds. “The ewes expecting singles are fed adlib silage, feed blocks and treacle. And the twins get ad-lib haylage, treacle, feed blocks and they are fed up to 0.56kg (1.25lb) of concentrates before lambing time.” The main aim is to feed to the ewes’ requirements, to ensure enough nutrients are available for the developing lambs. Batching is also important and in instances where ewes are expecting triplets, the animals are kept separate and fed differently to avoid competition at the trough.
texel primestock According to the family, this close attention to detail with nutrition and feeding is only possible due to pregnancy scanning. And by targeting feeding, you are not wasting feed, explains Carole. Wherever possible, the family feeds ewes as little concentrates as possible, and the ewes that lamb in May receive none. Bruce says: “I think a lot of people are feeding ewes too early; we start feeding them four weeks before lambing time, but it does all depend on the weather conditions. The ones that lamb in May don’t need concentrates, and it has shown us that many people are overvaluing the use of concentrates.” Post-lambing, ewes and lambs are put out to grazing, where they will remain for the rest of the summer, weather permitting.
Pre-tupping Nutrition at tupping time is just as important as during pregnancy, and the Ingrams work to ensure their ewes are on a fresh field of grass before the tup goes in. William says: “At tupping time we try to make sure the ewes aren’t in too good condition when they go to the rams – we try to ensure they are on a rising plane of nutrition.” And the ewes aren’t just put out on any old grass – the Ingrams make a concerted effort to graze ewes on young grass ahead of tupping. In fact, they have found ewes grazed on young grass tend to have more lambs. Tup management
The sheep seem to perform far better when the grass isn’t too far ahead. Previously when we were using fertiliser, it was expensive, and we found the sheep struggled with the rich grass.”
Bruce says: “It’s more stock grazing than rotational grazing we do here – just before we put the tups in, we put them to a fresh field of grass.” The tups are given maize, mixed with a small amount of concentrates, as well as access to turnips in the field. This continues until April, when they go back out onto grass all the way through to the farm sale in August. William says: “Our rams are just on grass in the run-up to tupping, and our customers say that they maintain condition right through until after tupping. And as a result, they are tupping 50% more ewes.” By adopting this approach to feeding, the tups are on a rising plane of nutrition, alongside the ewes, says Carole. Bruce adds: “We really want to produce rams on the system that our customers are going to be using them on – we have to utilise grass. And with sheep that are fed up on concentrates, it takes their rumen a while to adjust to grass.”
Photo courtesy of Texel Sheep Society www.texel.co.uk seven
Grassland management and Texel adding value to commercial flock productivity
Rising prices for quality early lambs are tempting some producers back to a system many walked away from after several years of poor prices. But to make the most of the opportunity both ewe and lamb management have to be up to scratch, according to one dedicated early lamber. Seaford, East Sussex-based Tom Masters lambs 850 ewes in February and a further 200 in April, with nearly all lambs from the early lambing flock finished and sold by the end of June and a large proportion of the Texel-sired crop off the farm by the end of May. For many it’s the promise of higher prices that draw them to early lambing, however, for Mr Masters it’s a simple matter of optimising the farm’s resources. “We farm a total of 550 acres right on the coast, with a portion of it being cliff top grazing. By the time we get to the middle of summer we generally have little grass and need to have stocking as low as possible at that point.
Photo courtesy of Texel Sheep Society www.texel.co.uk eight
texel primestock “Early lambing, coupled with creep feeding, means we can get our lamb crop sold early in the year before the grass starts to burn up and leaves me with a lower stocking rate through the summer.” And with his coastal ground rarely suffering from frost Mr Masters find he has sufficient grass early in the year to avoid concentrate feeding ewes once they’ve lambed. “We send all the ewes away to winter keep to preserve the grass at home for after lambing which certainly helps build up a grass wedge for ewes and lambs to go out onto.” With feeding stopped immediately postlambing it is crucial to build up condition on the ewes through the winter so they can milk off their backs a little after lambing, he adds. “We feed up to 1kg/head/day pre-lambing and find this to be a worthwhile investment as it means the ewes have plenty of milk on them at lambing and provided we get the grassland management right they then keep on milking well after turnout.
When it comes to prices Mr Masters has certainly seen the benefit of the extra length and shape his Texel tups are leaving in their lambs, with his first 732 lambs sold in 2011 averaging £100 and one week in mid-May seeing him sell 431 lambs at Ashford Market to gross £46,548, an average price of £108. “I find that once a ewe is milking well she can cope well on just grass at that time of year, but if we didn’t feed prior to lambing then we would struggle.” Ewes have access to ad-lib silage alongside their concentrate pre-lambing, with young leys used to make sure it is of the highest quality possible. Most ewes and lambs are turned out to grass 48 hours after lambing, with every group of ewes and lambs checked twice a day, with particular attention paid to the evening check.
“We’re careful to mother up every group each evening to ensure the lambs survive the night. If we didn’t do this and got a bad night of weather we could lose a significant number of lambs, although the Texel cross lambs are generally tough enough to withstand a bad night.” And with ewes scanning at 185% there is also a need to manage triplet lambs at lambing, with these being cross-fostered onto single bearing ewes where possible or reared artificially. “There’s no way we could turn a ewe out with triplets in February without it compromising both the ewe and the lambs.”
Most ewes and lambs are turned out to grass 48 hours after lambing. But while getting the management right is crucial, so too is breed choice. “We want a ewe which will milk well, but which is also strong enough to cope with our dry summers and, crucially, can leave a good shaped, easily fleshed lamb which can be at or near the top of the trade. “So, we tend to run Suffolk x Mule ewes and put them to high EBV Texel sires, with particular attention paid to maximising early growth. The quality of the ram is vital, we want a strong, long, powerful ram with plenty of growth and the Texel fits the bill for us perfectly.” These high growth rate sires leave lambs capable of maximising growth from milk and creep and with the cliff top climate occasionally a harsh one in spring they have the get up and go to survive, unlike some other terminal sires. We’ve moved away from smaller, blockier type tups as we found their lambs didn’t grow as quickly and they didn’t have the extra length I was looking for. Length adds weight and that is crucial to maximising the lamb price.” When it comes to prices Mr Masters has certainly seen the benefit of the extra length and shape his Texel tups are leaving in their lambs, with his first 732 lambs sold in 2011 averaging £100 and one week in mid-May seeing him sell 431 lambs at Ashford Market to gross £46,548, an average price of £108. We’d aim to have 35% of the lambs gone by the end of May and tend to draw anything 40kg and above.”
However, health is a top priority in order to achieve these results and all ewes are treated with a footrot vaccine as well as receiving a clostridial vaccine and an enzootic abortion vaccine. After lambing ewes are regularly footbathed to minimise scald. “A ewe with scald won’t milk as well and that can have a serious impact on lamb performance in a very short period of time. We also faecal egg count the lambs and are always on the watch for coccidiosis.”
We’ve moved away from smaller, blockier type tups as we found their lambs didn’t grow as quickly and they didn’t have the extra length I was looking for. Length adds weight and that is crucial to maximising the lamb price. Post-weaning management is just as crucial for the flock’s success as ewe and lamb management, believes Mr Masters. “We condition score the ewes during the summer and any which aren’t in good enough order are put on to the better grass while those in the right condition or too fit are run on poorer grass. In some cases we may feed the poorer ewes and while it may seem an expensive option, it more than pays for itself in an increased lamb crop.”
Farm Facts • 550 acre all grass farm • Poor summer growth • 850 February lambing ewes, 200 April lambers • Creep feeding maximises growth • Performance Recorded Texels for early lambing success
premium lamb prices at Guise of Tough’
Edited feature courtesy of Scottish Farmer.
“You need economies of scale to make any type of business work,”
Lambing is the most important time of year for all sheep farmers but when there’s no single farm payment coming in, then optimum flock management – both pre and post lambing – is crucial to ensure any sort of nett profit at the end of the day.
Liz was brought up to farm at Glenbuchat and it was here that she and young Lloyd spent many a happy hour amongst the sheep with his grand-father before then leaving school to work at Meadow Farm, Tarland, for Richard Anderson.
That’s exactly the case at Guise of Tough, Alford, where mother and son team, Liz and Lloyd Fowlie, attend to 1600 commercial ewes and 120 Limousin and British Blue suckler cows, while father, also Lloyd, manages his successful electrical business.
However, when Liz’ father died six years ago and the Fowlies opted to buy Guise, Lloyd left Meadow Farm to come and work at home. He certainly has his hands full now, with just him and his mother working on the unit, although casual labours are employed when necessary. Twins Megan and Katie both of whom are in their final year at high school, help out at lambing time, while their older sister, Jane is an SAC consultant at Forfar.
Fortunately, this scenic 340-acre Aberdeenshire farm – which sits at 9001000ft above sea-level – is owned, but having only been purchased five years ago, the family didn’t qualify for any SFP. Since then, the Fowlies have bought low value SFP entitlement, but rather than plough all available hard cash into future payments, they opted to rent additional grazing therefore allowing them to upsize numbers. As it is, they already rent a further 400-500 acres on an annual basis, and by taking on even more ground in future they hope to eventually expand to nearer 2000 ewes and 200 cows. “You need economies of scale to make any type of business work,” said young Lloyd, who at the age of just 23 is the main man at Guise, managing this expanding unit with his mother Liz.
It pays to produce quality so we crossed everything to a Texel. It was sheep that appealed most to Liz and Lloyd with the flock having been built up from Texel cross Lleyn ewes bought privately from Meadow, all of which were then crossed to a Texel tup. “Having the current number of sheep does have its disadvantages, but it’s the sheep side of the business that is at least making some money,” said Lloyd adding that by concentrating on producing top quality Limousin and British Blue cross calves, he hopes the cattle side of the enterprise will
texel primestock eventually start to add up as well. “It pays to produce quality so we crossed everything to a Texel. We did think that retaining the resultant three-quarter Texel females would prove to be the best commercial ewes, but we now aim to breed our own Texel cross Mule ewes as replacements, to boost lambing percentages and get that extra bit of length in the ewes and the lambs.” At present the ewe flock comprises 1100 Texel cross ewes all of which are crossed to a Texel and 500, bought-in south-type Blackface ewes tupped to a crossing-type Bluefaced Leicester ram to breed Mule ewe lambs to sell or retain. The business is definitely doing something right though as they regularly produce livestock that tops the market at Aberdeen and Northern Mart’s Thainstone Centre. As it is, most of the lambs are sold finished with 35% of the Texel cross lamb crop producing E and U grades and a subsequent premium, from August through to the end of March. Ewe lambs cashed for breeding also pay well, with the Mules having sold to £124 per head, while the three-quarter Texels have peaked at £90. So, what’s the secret?“We like to get all the Texel cross ewes away wintered onto clean grazing from November through onto the end of February,” Lloyd added. “That way, when the sheep come back for scanning, they can go onto fresh, clean grazing here. “Texel crosses are easy fed and apart from last year when there was so much snow, will easily come through the winter on grass alone with hi-energy blocks.”
After scanning, ewes are separated accordingly, with single-bearing ewes receiving silage and hay only with twin-bearing females having access to turnips, silage and or hay, and up to 1lb per head per day of ewe rolls. Triplet mothers receive grass and forages and additional concentrates.
We don’t have the shed space or the labour to lamb inside. To date, scanned lambing percentages have always been pretty impressive with the Texel crosses scanning in at 180-190% (they were even slightly higher last year despite the horrendous weather), while the Blackies yield 160-175%. Figures at marking time are obviously lower, but are only 10% less. In contrast to most intensive sheep units, all ewes are lambed outside, with the Blackies kicking off the ‘onslaught’ at the beginning of April, followed by the Texel crosses two weeks later. However, with the tups being out for two turns only, the time flies by. Lloyd added: “We don’t have the shed space or the labour to lamb inside, but I also think lambing outside is so much easier it’s definitely a lot cheaper, although you do need to have good dogs.You probably do lose a few more if the weather is really bad, but it’s still so much easier than lambing inside.”
lambing, but with grazing ground severely restricted, the next job is transporting many of the ewes and lambs to rented pastures – most of which are some 20 miles away. Stock tups are bought either at the local mart at Thainstone, or at Kelso, and having experimented with two or three breeds to include the Charollais, Suffolk and the Beltex, Lloyd is convinced he has found the best combination for his situation. “Mule ewes crossed to a Suffolk tup is still the most popular breeding policy in this area, but we’ve found that Texel crosses out of the Mule produce slightly better quality lambs and which are also hardier than the Suffolk. The Mule is definitely a hungry sheep and you can get some lambing difficulties with Texel ewes, but the Texel cross Mule should be easier kept and put to a good Texel give just as good a lamb,” he said. He doesn’t just purchase any old stock tup either, aiming to buy big tups with good skins, shape and rams that are good on their legs and on average will spend £800-£1000 on each.
We’ve found that Texel crosses out of the Mule produce slightly better quality lambs and which are also hardier.
Probably the biggest heartache are the triplet bearing ewes. However, there is shed space to accommodate 50 pens for ewes that have produced three those being twinned on.You would think the bizz quietens down after
Photo courtesy of Texel Sheep Society www.texel.co.uk eleven
Meeting the requirements
A measure of just how successful Bryn Griffiths has been is the fact that he has been a trophy winner in the Christmas prime lamb classes at Ruthin market 13 times since 2002. Bryn farms in partnership with his parents, Hefin and Glenys at Derwen, near Corwen in North Wales.
“We started using Texels with the aim of improving the quality of the lambs”.
In 2012 he will lamb almost 1400 ewes and 250 ewe lambs. The majority of these are three quarter bred Texels, plus 200 Mules and a further 160 Mule cross Suffolks which were bought in last year. About 360 cross bred ewes are put to Texel rams to produce female replacements and around 130 purebred ewes are kept to produce ram lambs to sell to local farmers. This is a trade which has developed in recent years and now Bryn will sell around 30 rams lambs a year to local farmers enabling him to achieve an additional income stream well above the finished lamb price. The remainder of the ewes are put to a Dutch Texel to produce finished lambs. “About 20 years ago we started using Texels with the aim of improving the quality of the lambs we were producing and, therefore, getting a better price for them,” says Bryn. “At that time there were very few people in this area using Texels, but gradually over the years more and more farmers have started to do so, which means there is greater competition. The quality of lamb in the market
has improved a great deal over the last few years, but we still manage to do very well and our lambs attract plenty of buyers.” Bryn usually runs 45 rams – about 10 Texel and the remainder Dutch Texel. “I pick Texel rams with plenty of character, tight skins and good conformation. I give particular attention to correct mouths and sound feet, with a leg at each corner. “With Dutch Texels only the best will do. I inspect and handle every ram before the sale and ensure only the rams with extreme backends are marked in my catalogue. I have learnt never to buy rams just on their looks in the sale ring. “I am very lucky to have both Texel and Dutch Texel sales at Ruthin Farmers auction, which is only 15 minutes down the road and I will sometimes go to the Texel club sale at Shrewsbury to buy a ram.” Lambing takes place in seven batches starting in mid-January with the first lot of Texel crosses, which have been sponged. These are followed by the remainder of the Texels, finishing with the shearlings in mid-March. All of these are lambed inside, with the Mules and half-breds also lambing in March, but outside. Ewes get licks and silage before lambing, but are not fed concentrates until two weeks before lambing, when they are started on an18 per cent pellet, building up to a kilo a day. Lambing percentage is usually
texel primestock around 180 per cent. The first two lots of lambs are creep fed, until spring grass starts to grow and they are weaned in June.
The first draw of lambs usually comes when they are ten weeks of age and then hopefully a batch of 40-50 is sold every week right through the year In readiness to accommodate the next batch ewes and lambs have to be turned out soon after birth, whatever the weather. Although Bryn has found the Texels to be extremely resilient, for the last few years he has used biodegradable plastic coats on the lambs if conditions are poor. He says: “They work very well and it just keeps the lamb’s backs dry in wet weather, which seems to make all the difference to them and the coats eventually
just come off and disappear, so there are no problems with disposal.” The first draw of lambs usually comes when they are ten weeks of age and then hopefully a batch of 40-50 is sold every week right through the year. Another benefit Bryn finds with the Dutch Texels sired lambs is not only their ability to finish quickly when required, but also if necessary to be stored and then finished when needed, ensuring there is stock to sell almost every week of the year as he explains: “I sort out lambs at weaning in June so the smartest and smaller lambs are stored until November, then sorted half-housed and finished ready for the Christmas and post Christmas trade. The remainder are then turned onto stubble turnips in January and sold in March and April. Then the cycle starts again with the spring lambs. Lambs are finished to 40-44kg and are all sold through Ruthin livestock market.
He enjoyed tremendous trade all last year, even in November topping the market at 240p/kg, with the load averaging 216p/kg and in the Christmas period 60 lambs were sold to average £112. Bryn says: “All my lambs are sold live weight and I am happy with what I am getting for them, so see no reason to change. I am very lucky to have such a modern, well run market on the doorstep. I have enjoyed much success over the last 15 years and I put a lot of this down to the encouragement and interest of the auctioneers, who themselves are keen stockmen. “They have excellent Easter and Christmas shows at which I have had a good deal of success at, having won at least one trophy at every Christmas sale since 2002. It is getting harder and harder to win as more farmers are now producing top quality lambs, but this only drives me on and encourages me to improve year on year.”
Bryn firmly believes in attention to detail and having lambs well prepared for sale.
Commercial Producers needs influence
Pedigree breed type Martin Greenfield - Midlands The switch to using Texel across his commercial sheep flock is paying off. He runs almost 1000 Mule/Texel cross ewes which are all put to pedigree Texel rams. Martin says: “I want to be able to sell lambs every week of the year and I’m aiming for the top end of the market. As far as possible I like to finish everything off forage and keep management as simple as possible, but need to be able to produce a top quality carcase, with some size, particularly in the loin and legs, so conformation is very important. . I aim for carcases to grade around U3L and the three quarter Texel cross lambs are delivering what I want, whatever their weight. The aim is to sell 1.75 lambs per ewe, with the intention of keeping losses to an absolute minimum. , maximising the potential of forage and ensuring lambs are finished at the right specification for their chosen market.
Proctors Farms Lancashire “If the commercial guys believe that rams with good figures will produce lambs that grow quicker and sell better with good grades, then the whole thing is working towards a common objective,” concludes Jeff Aiken. David Gibbons who runs 230 commercial ewes on a farm near Preston, produces prime lamb for Dunbia, aiming for 20kg deadweight grading U or E. “The Aikens are sourcing from the top bloodlines and they have high index stock,” says Mr Gibbons. “This has a positive knock-on effect; when you buy animals from them you start to access these benefits yourself.” Lambing takes place indoors in two periods in mid-February and at the end of March. Nearly all lambs from the early batch hit target and are sold straight from their mother before weaning.
Whinfell Park Cumbria Nick Schofield estate Manager for the large scale estate in North Cumbria says “Prolificacy and growth rate are extremely important to us at Whinfell. The ewe flock is based on a three quarter Texel (retaining some North of England Mule mothering) and consistently produce 185 lambing %. The Texel tup produces an excellent prime lamb, something we have come to rely on!”
Nesbitt Family - County Durham Performance recording comes high on the agenda for the Nesbitt family who run the Alwent and Deneside flocks at Winston near Darlington. Doug Nesbitt says “ The commercial customers are now realising the undoubted benefits gained by buying rams with good figures and are prepared to pay for them. Recording flocks are now producing good looking sheep with good figures behind them”. Doug farms the 200 acres at Alwent Hall with sons David and Steven. “Figures are important, but you must not forget the sheep, we are looking to breed good strong sheep, with some length. The most important traits are carcase and growth”. Doug and David are convinced that selling stock with figures has boosted sales and is proving financially worthwhile.
Hull House Texels Yorkshire John and Linda Mellin & family farm 1,400 acres - 500 acres of grass and 900 acres of hill and moorland which rises to 1,200 feet above sea level. The main business is the 400 head flock of pedigree Texels, but there are also 800 Hill Cheviot ewes, 400 of which are kept pure and 400 put to the Texel. “We are aiming to breed big strong sheep, which grow on without needing to be overfed. Even though we sell to both pedigree and commercial producers, the flock is run as one, as really both should require the same type of sheep. The flock is also performance recording for the last two years as John explains: the market is demanding it. Sheep with figures are starting to sell better than those without. Also we are able to use it as a management tool. The introduction of scanning for muscle depth and back fat has made a big difference and we are now able to measure a lot more traits. “We can now produce sheep which look good and have good figures, but when buying tups I still pick the ones I like by eye, and then look at the figures.”
John & Helen Renner - Northumberland The first sheep arrived in 2000 and now he is proud to say that the sheep enterprise now returns the highest gross margin on the farm, something he puts down entirely to the Texel influence. The Scotch Blackfaces are put to the Texel ram and the female offspring are then kept and put back to a Texel, which then produces an excellent commercial lamb. “We have found that the Texel Mule works extremely well. We are 170 metres above sea level and can get some extreme weather, so we need tups that can cope with that without melting.” John says: “We are looking for ewes which milk well off grass. The first lambs will be finished by July at 41kg having had no concentrates at all and we sell them through Acklington market where they seem to do very well.”absolute minimum. , maximising the potential of forage and ensuring lambs are finished at the right specification for their chosen market.
Callum Wight-Culter Allers Lanarkshire “When the Friday forecast comes in quoting the following weeks estimated prices its nice to know that the quality of your prime lambs is going to give you a 20p per kg premium over the average,” stated Callum Wight, Farm Manager for the McCosh Brothers Coulterhaugh and Nether Hangingshaw Farms, Biggar, Lanarkshire. Callum consistently achieves this for almost all year round using a Texel or Texel cross ewe with a Texel ram as your terminal sire. The pedigree and commercial flocks are both managed exactly the same. Ewes receive a fluke and worm dose prior to flushing with the aim of having the pedigree flock lambing in the last 10 days in Feb through to the 10th March and the commercials lamb from 1st April until the 10th May. “We were scanning at around 185% but I have been tweaking the system and have got the commercial ewes up to 205%,” stated Callum. In 2011 prime lambs from the Estate averaged £90 at 43.76kgs live weight straight of grass, red clover or kale and the cull ewes averaged £107.82 from 1 April. The breed was designed to leave lambs that you can market from one end of the year to the other off grass and forage crops without being over fat or over weight.
A large proportion of Texel bred ewes will be tupped to the Texel ram
Boosts Bottom Line On
Tyrella based father and son team Edward and James Carson are delighted with the
The duo run a mixed farm comprising of sheep, suckler cows, pigs and cereals encompassing around 800 acres including conacre taken.
“Texel rams are used predominately across the flock as a terminal sire, but their ability to produce a superior breeding female is a real bonus” explains James Carson.
Their attention to detail over the years has resulted in them picking up a number of prizes including the Silver Lapwing Award in addition to a number of top placings for cereal crops.
“We usually select our tups based on our eye but also take figures and health status into consideration when making our final selection. The more data that is recorded the better in our book as it is all useful for recording performance records within the commercial flock”.
Texel rams are used predominately across the flock as a terminal sire, but their ability to produce a superior breeding female is a real bonus The sheep flock has been increased in size this year and now stands at around 380 breeding ewes. In addition to this there are 120 ewe lambs retained for breeding. Many of the females are Texel bred and excel as mothers within the flock. The 2011 lambing season saw the ewe lambs lambed problem free outside which greatly reduced overheads and disease build up.
On a busy farm such as this, one of the key elements for success is consistency, and the Carson’s feel that Texel can offer this in abundance. “We have developed a low input - high output system which operates well for us. The only ration fed is to ewes for a couple of weeks prior to lambing which we feel sets them up for lambing and ensures they have adequate milk. Our lambing percentages are good right across the board.” Lambs are grass fed until selected for slaughter at weights of approximately 45 kilos. Top grading results are readily achieved for the Texel cross lambs, and selected ewe lambs are retained for essential flock replacements.
positive impact that Texel has had in their sheep enterprise.
Texel lambs are finished off grass without concentrate on the Carson family farm at Tyrella. They consistently achieve good weights and superior grading results.
Texel Firm Favourite for grass finished lambs For Focus Farmer
Texel is the perfect ram to use on mule cross ewes producing well made lambs that are quick to their feet at lambing.
Joe McCarragher runs a suckler, beef and sheep enterprise on the outskirts of Armagh extending to approximately 200 acres including conacre. He is the main workforce on the farm so each system has to be run efficiently and effectively all year round. The sheep flock sits around 200 breeding ewes, mostly made up of mule type females which perform well on this lowland grazing farm. These are tupped with Texel rams in two batches which allows production of a number of lambs for the early markets. There is a real emphasis on good grass production on this farm which is divided between Navan Fort and Killyleagh. This has been recognised in the past with Joe winning a number of awards for silage quality including 1st in County Armagh and 3rd Overall in the UFU silage making contest in 2010.
“We feel that the concentration of a good grass sward pays dividends in terms of grazing livestock and feeding them during the wintertime.” Joe goes on to say “Our ewes are grass fed only which cuts down on any expenditure on expensive concentrates. We do feed a certain amount of meal to our early lambs, but the later lambs are finished off purely grass.” “Texel rams were introduced to the farm a number of years ago, and have now got their feet under the table so to speak! Their lambs are easily lambed and quick to get to their feet and suckle. That is a real plus when you are lambing day and night on your own. “ explains Joe. Within a day the ewes and newborn lambs are put out to grass. The Texel lamb is robust and makes efficient use of their diet of milk and grass.
A number of the ewe lambs are retained each year and enter the flock as ideal replacements. The remainder of the lambs are sold through the live ring. This is a change in farming policy for the McCarraghers, but it fits in well with their day to day tasks. “Selling through the live ring has meant that there is less handling of the lambs required before selling, which saves precious time .I can also sell bigger batches at a time, and with many of the sales being held at night it fits in well in my daily routine. In terms of cash return we have actually found that we are better off selling this way as ewe lambs often make a higher price as farmers source replacements - so it’s a win win situation.” states Joe. Ram selection emphasis is placed on body, feet and legs when choosing a new ram, but this must also come hand in hand with good performance recording information.
Texel lambs are easily lambed and quick to get to their feet and suckle. That is a real plus when you are lambing day and night on your own. www.texel.co.uk seventeen
hit spec Edited feature courtesy of Farmers Weekly
Hitting market specification can bring big benefits to sheep producers, but how can they ensure as many lambs as possible fulfil requirements? Producers should avoid chasing lamb weights and instead focus on meeting market specifications to create sustainable lamb production. About 85% of market requirements are for E, U and R grades for conformation and 2 and 3L for fat class, yet just over half of all lambs slaughtered are meeting this requirement. This means one third of lambs aren’t meeting specification.
Free Prize Draw to win a Ritchie Weigh Crate. See back pages for more details
A lot of producers think heavier weights mean more in the pocket, but this is completely dependent on what the market wants, explained EBLEX’s national selection specialist, Steve Powdrill. “Most of the market wants E, U, R, 2 and 3L grades, with only about 6% going to butchers at a heavier weight.” Mr Powdrill said taking lambs to a higher weight not only added unnecessary input costs at farm level, can also create an undesirable product for the consumer, if not carefully managed.
He stressed that there was a place for everything, but it was crucial that stock were bought and sold at the right price to the right market. “The main thing is to finish lambs to their optimum, but not over-fat. Within most common breeds it is possible to achieve an ideal target of R3L.” Mr Powdrill stressed the need for sheep producers not to just think of themselves as livestock producers, but as meat producers, so that they were focused on producing exactly what the market wanted. As such, it was crucial farmers assessed lambs before they went to slaughter – not only to supply an ideal product, but also to limit unnecessary input costs from keeping an animal too long. “Assessing a lamb’s level of conformation is vital to determine the correct time to sell and so maximise potential returns,” he said. “Lambs should be sorted by handling once a fortnight as they approach market quality and every week for the final two or three weeks.” “Weighing lambs is a second key management tool after handling. Regular weighing, along with handling, provides the route to better returns.”
Mr Powdrill recommends the following method of assessing a live lamb: CONFORMATION ”The key is to imagine an animal as a live carcass when assessing for conformation and focus on the three main areas: the leg, loin and shoulder. Two out of three of these points make up the conformation – you cannot just look at the rear in isolation.” The leg
FAT CLASS Dock/tail 1 2 3 4 5
Individual bones very easy to detect Individual bones easy to detect with light pressure Moderate pressure to detect individual bones Firm pressure to detect individual bones Individual bones cannot be detected
Loin • Visually assess how the fleece falls from behind • Put hand on gigot
• The hind/legs are largely influenced by breed so if the loin is done, you won’t change the hind much
• Place thumb and fingers either side of spine and feel the spinous process and transverse process
• The transverse process are the chops – they should have a nice coverage, but still be detectable • When a lamb is not finished the spine will be sharp and you will be able to feel the tips of the transverse process
Loin 1 2 3
• This is the most important part in conformation and fat assessment • When this is finished, the animal needs to go Shoulder
• Place hand flat over the shoulder • On a poor lamb your hand will rock backwards and forwards • On an over-conditioned lamb there will be no movement and on a finished lamb there will only be slight movement
Very easy to feel between processes which are very prominent Prominent spinous and transverse processes felt easily Tips of processes rounded. Individual bones felt as corrugations with light pressure Spinous processes felt with moderate pressure. Transverse with firm pressure Individual processes cannot be felt
Individual ribs feel very bare, prominent and easy to detect Individual ribs show slight cover, but still easy to detect Individual ribs have softer feel, with fat cover becoming more evident in between and over ribs, which are now less easy to detect Individual ribs only detectable with firm pressure Individual ribs undetectable, soft, rolling, spongy feel
Breast/brisket (generally used for conformation of higher fat class) 1 2 3 4 5
Skin tight with no lateral movement, very bare feel Some lateral movement in skin, providing a slight pinch of fat More pronounced movement in skin providing definite pinch of fat, softer feel A ridge of fat evident, providing a positive and more pronounced pinch of fat - soft feel The thick ridge of fat has become very pronounced, resulting in a thick pinch and soft, rolling feel
Key considerations when assessing fat • The first area an animal puts fat on is around the dock • •
When a lamb is over-fat, you will feel a crease down the back and to the top of the dock Females lay down fat quicker and entire males finish slower
Lean muscling accompanied with growth boosts Texel lamb popularity across the supply chain Texel sires carry essential production traits, Lamb growth is important and must be accompanied by high levels of muscling in the prime joints.
The UK’s commercial sheep farmers are set to gain another significant improvement in lamb performance in the coming years thanks to the commitment of Texel breeders to using performance recording to increase genetic gains. This year will see a record number of Texel flocks recording, with another 16% jump in the number of flocks using Signet recording in 2012, who aim to gain valuable insight in to their flocks’ performance. As more and more commercial sheep farmers are using performance recording figures as an extra tool when buying tups. They want the inside knowledge about the tups to back up their visual appraisal of them. With lamb prices riding high in recent years it is understandable that farmers want to invest wisely when it comes to tup buying. The tups are half the flock and having as much information at hand when buying them is vital to ensure high value lambs and successful sales.” The total number of recorded lambs has now risen to 16,500, which represents 25% of the Texel Society lamb production, with many of these lambs, influencing across the 2000 strong member flocks. This also creates a new milestone in the breed and across the recorded industry with 200 fully recorded Texel flocks now involved. And it’s not just commercial farmers who are valuing the data given by performance recording, with a number of last year’s leading rams at Texel Society sales carrying with them high performance figures. But, there is no doubting the driver for this increase in recorded flocks, says EBLEX breeding specialist and Signet manager Sam Boon. It is being driven by an increasing demand from commercial producers. At the English, Welsh and Scottish National Sales recorded Texel rams with indexes in the top 10% of the breed consistently achieved higher prices - averaging an extra £600 a ram at the English National for example. And more significantly they achieved much higher clearance rates, indicating a strong commercial demand for performance recorded rams with superior genetics. This indicates a strategic change in the way that buyers are selecting Texel stock rams - which has massive long term benefits for the industry.”
texel primestock These sires carry essential production traits, Lamb growth is important and must be accompanied by high levels of muscling in the prime joints. In the Texel breed selection for growth rate and muscle depth has increased vastly over the last 20 years, indicating an increase in total carcase muscling. The average breeding value for growth to 21 weeks of age is over 5kg higher now than when the first records were taken in 1992. Whilst in the widely used rams there is an 8kg difference in the growth potential of the top 10% and bottom 10% sires, this equates to a massive 4kg difference in weight of their progeny to 21 weeks of age. Meeting the requirements of all the important sectors of the supply chain is a massive challenge for any breed. However Texel is one of the very few that offers many of the solutions to producers farming across the diverse UK industry. But no compromise is needed in achieving producer needs as Texel ensures value is added to the processors as well, who clearly need fit not fat lambs presented. At fat class 4L they lose 3.0kg in fat during processing, but this is reduced to 1.5kg at class 2L and to 0.7kg at class 2. Well fleshed lambs are important, although excessive confirmation can also present problems. The effect of the recession has been that consumers want cheaper forequarter cuts rather than more expensive hindquarter meat, but despite that producers need to focus on hitting weight, fat and confirmation targets. The best way to achieve this is to measure what you are doing and respond to feedback from processors.
A large number of lambs still fail to meet the carcase specification preferred by end users and the problem is worse towards the end of the season. National slaughter statistics suggest that almost 43% of lambs fall outside the preferred specification for most market outlets of EUR 2/3L, which is costing farmers and the industry. Abattoirs wonâ€™t penalise for a fat class 2, ie a lean lamb, but generally penalties will occur for going beyond a 3L. The price penalty for a 20Kg which slips to an R4L can be as much as ÂŁ3 a lamb, plus there is also the cost of the extra feed used to put on this fat to consider. National figures also show the percentage of lambs hitting specification declines over the winter months, from around 70% in June to nearer 47% in March.
Fatty carcasses cost the industry more to process and there is likely to be a discounted price to retail. Many butchers donâ€™t trim fat, instead they end up paying less to the farmer, a 3L lamb compared to a 3H or 4L could be worth 50p/kg more, so a farmer has provided a heavier animal that costs more to produce and received less return. Sending fat lambs to abbatoir is a waste of time and money, particularly considering they could have been sent a month earlier.
It is predicted that in the last 20 years the breeding potential for Texel weight of muscle in the carcase has risen by over 1.5kg, with a small acceptable associated rise in carcase fat. At an industry level this is worth millions of pounds. There is also the wider implications for the livestock sector to consider, such as public perception of red meat. Recent market research by EBLEX suggests that 62% of consumers consider lamb to be tasty. , but 66% also regard it as a fatty meat. Fat has been on the radar due to health implications, but with recession and ongoing economic worries, its increasingly looked at from a plate wastage aspect. Consumers see lamb as an expensive item so they want to buy meat without plate waste. Excessive Intramuscular fat increases plate waste, as it requires higher temperatures to render down and is difficult to trim out. External subcutaneous fat can be trimmed off relatively easily, while a degree of intramuscular fat is essential to maintain taste and tenderness.
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Texel Ticks All The Boxes For
Award Winning Butcher Dalbeattie Fine Foods are noted for their attention to detail under the curation of owner Alan Elliott. This has resulted in the business scooping an array of awards since it first opened for business in 2004.
www.texel.co.uk twenty two
texel primestock Northern Irish born and bred butcher Alan Elliott has earned a reputation as being one of the United Kingdom’s leading meat purveyors since opening his award winning shop, Dalbeattie Fine Foods, in 2004. Based in south west Scotland this busy butchery has notched up an array of accolades for their produce culminating in Alan securing the title of UK Young Butcher of the Year 2008. What keeps Alan’s customers coming back time and time again is the superior quality right across the range of lamb, beef and pork produce sold across the counter. “I pay particular attention to where I source my meat from and take an interest in the way that it is has been reared on the farm. This has a bearing on the overall flavour and texture which is extremely important for my customers,” explains Alan. Alan has been well impressed with Texel lambs and how they kill out. He sources from local commercial farms who are well qualified to supply this award winning butchers.
Alan’s first experience of Texel came at an early age on his father’s farm at Cookstown, Co Tyrone. A number of pure and commercial Texel ewes were kept with lambs regularly topping the market. A spell working in a well known local butchery prompted Alan’s move to Scotland where he saw there was an opportunity for him to put his skills to the test. The success of Dalbeattie Fine Foods has been well documented since its launch in 2004 and Alan attributes this to the attention to detail whether it be the source of produce or the way that it is prepared in the shop. “We can rely on Texel lambs to deliver a high meat to bone ratio satisfying our customers high expectations. Their quality is consistent which is the name of the game in our business.” In addition to the more traditional cuts of lamb, beef and pork Alan can offer a full range of oven ready dishes specially prepared with flavour and convenience in mind. Dalbeattie Fine Foods also runs a successful online ordering facility which ensures that customers across the country can enjoy the taste of Texel.
Texel lambs are ideally suited for Dalbeattie Fine Foods as they offer outstanding flavour and texture which ticks all the boxes with consumers.
We can rely on Texel lambs to deliver a high meat to bone ratio satisfying our customers high expectations. Their quality is consistent which is the name of the game in our business.
www.texel.co.uk twenty three
Society Club Sales 2012 6 August BUILTH WELLS NSA WALES & BORDER Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488
7 September LLANDOVERY Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488
19 September BAKEWELL Bagshaws Tel: 01629 812 777
29 September CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 406 230
11 August CHELFORD Frank Marshall Tel: 01625 861 122
8 September SHREWSBURY Halls Tel: 01743 462 620
20 September LANARK Lawrie & Symington Tel: 01555 662 281
15 October WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553 438
15 August EXETER NSA SOUTH WEST Stags of Tiverton Tel: 01884 255 533
9 - 10 September RUTHIN Ruthin Farmers Auction Co Ltd Tel: 01824 702 025
20 - 21 September SKIPTON Craven Cattle Mart Tel: 01756 792 375
1 December WORCESTER McCartneys Tel: 01905 769 770
18 August GAERWEN Morgan & Evans Tel: 01248 723 303
13 September WILTON Southern Counties Tel: 01722 321 215
21 September MELTON MOWBRAY NSA Eastern Mowbray Market Tel: 01664 562971
3 - 4 December THAINSTONE Aberdeen & Northern Marts Tel: 01467 623 700
31 Aug - 1 Sept KENDAL Kendall Auction Mart Tel: 01539 720 603 & Lawrie & Symington Tel: 01555 662 281
14 September RUTHIN DUTCH TEXEL Ruthin Farmers Auction Co Ltd Tel: 01824 702 025
23 - 24 September BUILTH WELLS NSA WALES & BORDER Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488
7 December CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 406 230
6 September SEDGEMOOR Greenslade, Taylor, Hunt Tel: 01278 410250
14 September ASHFORD Hobbs Parker Tel: 01233 502 222
27 September CLITHEROE Clitheroe Auction Mart Tel: 01200 423 325 & Lawrie & Symington Tel: 01555 662 281
15 December SKIPTON Craven Cattle Mart Tel: 01756 792 375
6 - 7 September CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 406 230
14 September KELSO RAM SALE For more details Tel: 01573 224188
27 September WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553 438
21 December WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553 438
7 September THAME Thame Farmers Auctions Ltd Tel: 01844 217 437
18 September THAINSTONE Aberdeen & Northern Marts Tel: 01467 623 700
28 September LEYBURN Craven Cattle Mart Tel: 01969 926167
21 December LLANDOVERY Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488
Society Club Sales Northern Ireland 27 August RATHFRILAND Rathfriland Farmers Co-Op Tel: 028 4063 8493
13 September ARMOY D McAllister Tel: 028 2177 1227
19 September BALLYMENA J A McClelland Tel: 028 2563 3470
4 October GORTIN Richard Beattie’s Livestock Sales. Tel: 028 8164 7105
8 September ENNISKILLEN Ulster Farmers Mart Tel: 028 6632 2218
14 September SWATRAGH Sperrin & Bann Valley Mart Tel: 028 7940 1335
20 September LISAHALLY Richard Beattie’s Livestock Sales. Tel: 028 8164 7105
15 October BALLYMENA J A McClelland Tel: 028 2563 3470
11 September DUNGANNON NSA PRT Dungannon Farmers Mart Tel: 028 8772 2727
17 September HILLTOWN Hilltown Mart Tel: 028 4063 0287
27 September CLOGHER D McAllister Tel: 028 2177 1227
Date & Venue to be confirmed IN-LAMB For further details contact the N.I Club Secretary Tel: 07791 679112
Society National Sales Northern Ireland National Ballymena Monday/Tuesday 13th & 14th August Scottish National Lanark Wednesday/Thursday 22nd & 23rd August Welsh National Welshpool Friday/Saturday 24th & 25th August English National Worcester Monday/Tuesday 27th & 28th August For further information phone www.texel.co.uk twenty four
02476 696629 Or visit www.texel.co.uk
If there’s one thing you’d change, what would it be?
this £900 weigh crate
Commercial Questionnaire 2012 For your chance to win a lamb weigh crate please ensure you have completed your name and address and return this questionnaire to the British Texel Sheep Society (address on reverse). The prize will be drawn at the Texel Society office on 28/02/2013 Alternatively complete your entry online @
www.texel.co.uk/telltexel Christian Name Surname Company Name Address County
Contact No. Age
Email: Up to 21
22 - 35
36 - 50
Q1. How many commercial ewes do you have? Q2. What is your main ewe breed or cross? Q3. How long have you been using Texel rams for? (Please tick appropriate box) 0 years
1 - 5 years
6 - 9 years
10 + years
Q4. If you answered 0 years to Q3, is there a reason that you do not use the Texel breed?
Q5. Do you use Texels as terminal sires or to breed replacement females? (Please tick appropriate box) Terminal Sires
Q6. Where do you buy your Texel rams? (Please tick appropriate box/s) Auction
Privately - Texel Society Member
Privately - Non Texel Member
If auction please state where
Q7. Do you sell prime lambs, store lambs, breeding ewe lambs, or a combination of these? Prime
If a combination of the above please state percentages
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If there’s one thing you’d change, what would it be?
tell Q8. If selling prime lambs how do you sell your prime lambs? Prime
Own retail outlet/farmers markets
Q9. If selling prime lambs to the nearest 3kg what liveweight do you sell most of your lambs at? 36 - 38kg
39 - 41kg
42 - 44kg
45 - 47kg
48kg and above
Q10. Of the following which are your top five criteria when buying rams? Please only score your top five from 1-5 as appropriate. Only score a maximum of 5 boxes 1 - 5 Mature size Growth rate Longevity Gigot conformation Lamb carcass conformation Length Ease of lambing Lamb vigour at birth Size of head/legs Ram libido / ability to cover more ewes Prolificacy
Depth of loin EBV data Trust in ram breeder Price Flock / ram health status
Q11. Do you believe ram breeders provide you with enough information when buying rams? Yes
Q12. If you answered No to question 11 what information do you want that you don’t currently receive?
Many thanks for taking the time to complete this questionnaire. The information collected is for the sole use of the Texel Sheep Society. See conditions of entry @ www.texel.co.uk/telltexel Texel Sheep Society, 4th Street, National Agricultural Centre Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG
www.texel.co.uk/telltexel www.texel.co.uk twenty six
www.texel.co.uk twenty seven
For efficient meat production tried, tested and proven matched perfectly to UK conditions
Visit www.texel.co.uk for the latest Texel news and sales dates www.texel.co.uk twelve