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TEXEL The bulletin for all

Breeders A Texel Society Publication

MARCH 2015

Flock Features

Northern Ireland & Orkney

New recruits for industry leading projects New maternal ability EBV in Texel sheep

SPECIAL REPORT Q&A with Robert Laird Cambwell flock

In Touch with Texel #addtexeladdvalue

National Sales & Shows 2015 National Sale dates 21st-22nd August N.I National P Longdin - Wellingly

26th-27th August Scottish National P Quick - Loosebeare

29th August Welsh National D Chestnutt - Bushmills

31st August-1st Sept English National G Pyman - Thacka

Club Sales dates 3 August BUILTH WELLS NSA Early Ram Sale Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488 15 August CHELFORD Frank Marshall Tel: 01625 861 122 15 August GAERWEN Morgan & Evans Tel: 01248 723 303 19 August EXETER LIVESTOCK MARKET Kivells Tel: 01392 251 261 3 - 4 September CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 406 230 5 September SHREWSBURY Shrewsbury Livestock Auctioneers Tel: 01743 462 620

7 September NWA Jct 36 Tel: 015395 662 00 10 September WILTON Southern Counties Tel: 01722 321 215

13 - 14 September RUTHIN Ruthin Farmers Auction Tel: 01824 702 025 17 September LANRK Lawrie & Symington Tel: 01555 662 281

11 September RUTHIN (DUTCH) Ruthin Farmers Auction Company Tel: 01824 702025

17 - 18 September SKIPTON Craven Cattle Mart Tel: 01756 792 375

11 September ASHFORD Hobbs Parker Tel: 01233 502222

19 September WORCESTER McCartneys Tel: 01905 769 770

11 September KELSO For more details Tel: 01573 224 188

19 September BAKEWELL Bagshaws Tel: 01629 812 777

13 September LLANDOVERY Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488

21 September BUILTH WELLS Main NSA Ram Sale Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488

22 September THAINSTONE Aberdeen & Northern Mart Tel: 01467 623 710 24 September CLITHEROE Lawrie & Symington Tel: 01555 662 281 26 September CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 06 230 1 October WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553438 19 October WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553 438 30 November THAINSTONE Aberdeen & Northern Mart Tel: 01467 623 710

3 December FFAIRFACH Ffairach Livestock Mart Tel: 01267 236 268 5 December WORCESTER McCartneys Tel: 01905 769770 11 December CARLISLE Harrison & Hetherington Tel: 01228 406 230 12 December SKIPTON Craven Cattle Mart Tel: 01756 792 375 17 December WELSHPOOL Welshpool Livestock Sales Tel: 01938 553 438 18 December LLANDOVERY Clee, Tompkinson & Francis Tel: 01874 622 488

Northern Ireland Club Sales

5 September RUAS BALMORAL Richard Beattie’s Livestock Sales Tel: 028 8164 7105 10 September ARMOY D McAllister Tel: 028 2177 1227


Spring 2015

11 September ENNISKILLEN Ulster Farmers Mart Tel: 028 6632 2218 11 September SWATRAGH Sperrin & Bann Valley Mart Tel: 029 7940 1335 16 September BALLYMENA Co Antrim J A McClelland Tel: 028 2563 3470

17 September LISAHALLY Richard Beattie’s Livestock Sales Tel: 028 8164 7105 18 September HILLTOWN Hilltown Mart Tel: 028 4063 0287 23 September MARKETHILL Markethill Livestock Tel: 028 3755 1265

24 September CLOGHER Clogher Mart Tel: 028 8164 7105 2 October GORTIN Richard Beattie’s Livestock Sales Tel: 028 8164 7105 12 October (Harvest Sale) BALLYMENA J A McClelland Tel: 028 2563 3470

7 December Ballymena In-Lamb J A McClelland Tel: 028 2563 3470

“ dates correct as of 27/02/15

31 August RATHFRILAND Rathfriland Farmers Co-operative Tel: 028 4063 8493

TEXEL Breeders Bulletin

Texel Bulletin is published by the Texel Sheep Society Ltd twice a year in March and November. 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. Membership Subscriptions are available by contacting the Society Office Advertising and content inclusion contact Gil Burton Society Governance Chief Executive John Yates Chairman Henry Gamble, Springwell flock Vice Chairman David McKerrow, Nochnary Flock

Texels build on success to drive forward in 2015


fter an exceptional 12 months Texel breeders are set to further enhance the breed’s enviable reputation and place in the UK sheep industry in 2015 With unprecedented demand at all the breed’s major sales in 2014 and our flagship Scottish National Sale grossing more than £1m for the first time in history, last year was an exceptional one for the breed. But while the headlines from last year wrote themselves, there is much to look forward to in 2015, notably with planning well ahead for this season shows and sales and a buzz of excitement across the membership and clubs. We are supporting a number of key industry events, including NSA events (see page 7) and the development of our youth programme (see page 12). It is hard to pass a day without hearing about

Treasurer Graeme Knox , Haddo flock

new technology or a major breakthrough in science. The breed’s ground breaking involvement in genomics offers plenty to look forward to with our breeds’ development and without doubt will provide many questions as well as answers as we move forward. A useful Q&A is available on our website. The new project will focus on key health trait mass measurements and are already underway in early 2015. With massive strides also being made by the breed when it comes to performance recording, the breed focus is very much commercial. We hope you like the new style bulletin and make the most of all the additional information that we have available on our website.

John John Yates, Chief Executive

“Performance Pays” Front cover shows a typical Cambwell ewe.

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

Few sheep breeders can rely on an income from their pedigree Texel flock to support a family, but one who can, and fairly successfully at that, is Robert Laird, who farms 420 upland acres at Cambwell, Biggar. Robert gives his opinion on the value of Performance Recording in this spring issue.

“I am a figures man, but you have to identify the bloodlines that are breeding well with you first and breed to type.”

TEXEL The bulletin for all

Breeders A Texel Society Publication

MARCH 2015

Flock Features

Northern Ireland & Orkney

New recruits for industry leading projects New maternal ability EBV in Texel sheep SPECIAL REPORT

Q&A with Robert Laird Cambwell flock

In Touch with Texel #addtexeladdvalue

Spring 2015


March 2015


All smiles at the Winter fairs


Texel fits perfectly with young brothers busy lifestyle

NEWS 6. Society drives new era of “dna & data” 7. Shows & sales updates 8. Member news & diary dates 9. Show receptions and new recruits

LIFESTYLE 10. Orkney proving popular for expansion of Texel flocks. Westray flock feature 16. We find out how recording and showing work hand in hand for Cambwell flock


Robbie Rendall outlines why Texel fits the bill in tough Orkney climate

YOUTH FOCUS 12. Society announce latest support programme for young Texel breeders 13. Young brothers commitment to the Texel breed. Kiltariff feature 14. Excitement builds for National Sales as we review the success of young flocks at last year’s pre sale shows. 15. Youth programme supports the first NSA event of the year. NSA Winter Fair Bakewell


Spring 2015


New maternal ability EBV added to breeders tool box


Are you ultrasound scanning your lambs at the optimum time?


18 VET OUTLOOK 18. Our Expert Kath Dun, Galedin Veterinary, talks about the benefits of “Flock health security” planning

In lamb proves popular

Our experts advise “Top tips” for a healthy flock

SALES 20. In lamb sales prove incredibly popular. Here we offer some of the highlights of this winters events


Cambwell flock feature

TECHNICAL CORNER 22. New Maternal EBV for Texel explained by our expert 24. Are you ultrasound scanning your lambs at the optimum time. Don’t just follow old habits, our expert explains further

Spring 2015


News Society Matters

New era for Society of “data and dna” The membership now places data and dna collection and analysis at the core of the Society, and with that has created the largest dna bank for any sheep breed society, complemented by the largest across flock recording scheme of any sheep breeding organisation in the UK. Texel performance recording data uses information from more than 15,000 fully recorded lambs every year, with these animals reared in a wide range of farming systems and environments. The breed continues to make unprecedented gains in many of the key commercial traits and the cumulative effects of this are being felt across the sheep industry.

2015 AGM & Social Weekend Friday 13th Saturday 14th November Fairmont St Andrews Hotel St Andrews, Scotland


Society Matters

Fees deadlines for 2015 The cut off date for standard birth notifications is now earlier to assist in 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.

Society Matters

Compulsory DNA profiling 2015 ET birth notification are restricted unless the donor ewe (any age) and sire (born in 2013 onwards) used in the ET programme is DNA profiled. Please contact the office for your DNA kit. DNA profiles are charged at £27 including VAT. Results can take up to 6 weeks .

Society Matters

Jimmy Warnock awarded an MBE Noted Texel breeder Jimmy Warnock of the Watchknowe flock has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours. Jimmy, a well known figure throughout the UK said the award was as much for all the people he’d worked with throughout his farming career as it was for him. Watchknowe breeding can be found in all corners of the UK, testament to the commitment Jimmy has shown to the Texel breed throughout his farming career, which has also seen Jimmy milk cows since the age of 16. A regular face at many agricultural shows in Scotland where his commentaries have become the stuff of legend, Jimmy says educating school children and the wider public about farming is a vital part of his involvement in the industry.


Winter Fair and Primestock Shows 2014 Texel sired lambs enjoyed an excellent winter fair season, David & Linda Wadland at the East of England Smithfield collecting a number of Supreme Festival & Reserve Championships up and down the country, including East of England Smithfield Festival, English Winter Fair, Borderway Agri-Expo, Countryside Live and the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. Full reports and images are available on the Texel website News


Spring 2015


Texel support commercial Lleyn classes at Livestock event 2015 In an unprecedented move both the Lleyn and Texel breed Societies have joined forces to promote the commercial benefits provided from the Lleyn maternal line and the Texel terminal lines. These two breeds have developed beyond recognition over the past 4 decades and are a credit to the breeders involved in these two organisations. With both breeds now well seated in the commercial industry, as outlined in the recent breed survey. Texel dominated the report with 27% of all ram use being Texel and 12% of xbred ewes also Texel and with 3.4% of all rams used being Lleyn. The Lleyn breed is the largest PURE none hill breed with 474,000 ewes representing 3.6% of National flock. Whilst Texel is also second most popular PURE breed with 2.3% and 304,000 ewes. The Texel Society sponsorship will provide useful promotional opportunity whilst supporting commercial Lleyn breeders that have recognised the major benefits that this cross provides. The event will take place at the National Exhibition Centre Birmingham, Livestock Event 8th – 9th July


Appetite for TEXEL Exports In a classic coals to Newcastle story British Texels are making their mark on sheep farms in mainland Europe after exports in recent years What may surprise many is the growing demand for British Texels from overseas and notably mainland Europe, the very place the breed was imported to the UK from. But for many European sheep farmers it is what British breeders have done with the Texel since it arrived on UK shores that now makes it so appealing. Particularly when coupled with the lack of breeding progress made in many European countries.

Event Dates & Judges 2015 NSA Events 19th May NSA Welsh Sheep Glanmeheli and Drefor Farms, Kerry, Near Newtown 3rd June NSA North Sheep Millstone Moor Farm, Cockermouth, Cumbria 9th June NSA Highland Sheep Fearn Farm, Fearn, Ross-shire, IV20 1TL 16th June NSA South West Sheep Higher Nichols Nymet, Nichols Nymet, North Tawton 6th July NSA Sheep Northern Ireland Ballymena Market, Woodside Road, Ballymena, Country Antrim 3rd August NSA Early Ram Sale Builth Wells Judge - Russell Watkins 21st September NSA Wales & Borders Ram Sale Builth Wells Judge - Andy Barr - Parkhouse Texels

Royal Shows & Southern feature Show

Indeed, according to Swiss sheep farmer Heinz Plüss, it is a lack of progress in local Swiss breeds which led him to seek out more productive sheep and in turn led him to British Texels.

13-15th May Royal Ulster Show Robert Cockburn - Knap

“Switzerland only produces 38 % of its yearly consumption of lamb. I feel this is due to the fact that breeders of our traditional local sheep breeds don’t produce what the market is demanding today – lean, high quality meat”.

18th-21st June Royal Highland Show Alastair Gault - Forkins

Across the border in France British Texels are having an impact too, with many French breeders using British genetics to expand the bloodlines available in the breed which has fallen from favour in the country in recent years.

1st-2nd July Norfolk County Show Anna Minnice-Hughes - Penparc

With Texel Society supporting the AHDB Beef & lamb exhibit at SIA Paris Show during late February. The 5th concurrent year the breed has supported English lamb promotions at this event.

14th-16th July Great Yorkshire Show P Kermode - Orrisdale

And with the recent export of 200+ embryos to Brazil, another first was notched up for the breed as the appetite for Texel genetics increases globally.

20th-23rd July Royal Welsh Show Henry Gamble - Springwell


Spring 2015



National Sales Society promotion is at an all time high, helping to make these events popular with the membership with commercial demand growing to under pin these top draw breeders sales.

Wool Inspection With strict veterinary inspections supported by the Society’s own inspections, the quality of stock has improved at these events. The pre sale shows are as popular as ever, with a great interest from younger breeders. As with any successful event, small and regular adjustments in a variety of areas help to move the success forward. For 2015 the Society will have a Wool Inspector at all the Veterinary inspection points on entry to the sales. Any sheep that do not meet the acceptable standard will be refused entry to the Show and Sale. The Inspectors decision will be final and this will be upheld by the Society. Members are reminded that excessive use of colour and dip is not permitted. Dressing of wool is prohibited at sales run under the Society auspices.

Society Matters To support members in promotion of their flocks and our breed the Society invests considerable funds in photography. These are used across a variety of medias, however members often ask how they can view an event. At the bottom of the society website home page there is a button named Phanfare gallery. This takes you to our micro website where all our event photo galleries are held. Photos can be viewed individually or part of a slide show. We hope you enjoy viewing them as much as we do!


ROYAL WELSH SHOW Sheep Deposit Scheme

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

Following over 850 exhibits not coming forward in 2014 the Royal Welsh Society is introducing a deposit system for sheep entries this year. Exhibitors will be charged an extra £30.00 deposit per entry in addition to their entry fee. If the exhibit is forward at the Show or the exhibitor cancels prior to the 1st July then money will be refunded in full. Organisers hope this will encourage exhibitors to inform of their absence in good time whilst allowing all that wish to enter the opportunity.

Aled Jones - Peniel Texels - 15th January 2015

Entry fees (national sales) In 2014 we removed the unpopular unsold deposit system and created a flat rate fee, which remains well below other breed society National sale entry fees. To allow for flat rate transition it was expected that another small adjustment may be needed for the 2015 sales. There will be an increase of £2.50 per entry, to total £22.50 plus Vat for each entry in 2015 (£27.00 inc.VAT).

BASCO Cataloguing fees These fees have remained unchanged for many years. A small increase of 10 pence per catalogued entry will be made from 1st April. Fees will be £1.10 for member/cataloguer entry and £1.60 for office entry. Members are reminded to make accurate notes as any further editing by the Society office may be charged.

Society Matters

E Lloyd Williams - Pentre Texels 27th September 2014

Andrew Holden - Bold Venture Texels - 3rd February 2015 Michael Dun - RHAS Steward - 1st February 2015 Mr W Williams - Pantcefn Texels December 2014 Mr B Verity - Barrowby/Kirkdale Texels - 19th February 2015 Our deepest sympathies go to the families, friends and colleagues.


NSA Builth Ram sales The Society has been informed by NSA Ram Sale Committee of the following Amendment to the ballot system for Texel Society Sales. The following procedure will be followed for the above Society sale at both the Early & Main Sales held at Builth Wells. The 2015 vendors brought forward from 2014 will be divided into three sections. The last third will be moved to the front, the middle section to the end & the first third will move to the middle where they will be subject to a ballot. The other two sections will remain in their previous year’s order. With this system vendors will only change order every third year & with balloting the middle section no-one should find themselves unfairly balloted. New vendors will be placed at the beginning & end of the ring, as happened previously. The Texel Society does NOT carry out the ballot, we purely issue paper entry forms, collect entry fees and produce the catalogue as instructed by NSA Ram sales.



Spring 2015

Society Matters

New recruits for 2015 Clare Glenn Project Assistant I was brought up on a mixed sheep and beef farm in Co. Londonderry in Northern Ireland. After graduating from Edinburgh University with a BSc Hons in Agriculture (Animal Science) in 1998 I went to work for a year on a sheep and deer farm in New Zealand. On my return to the UK I moved to Malvern, where I remained for 6 years to work for what is now known as Innovis Breeding Services. In 2005, I took up the position of Breed Liaison Manager for the ARK ReGENEration semen archive. A year later I got married and moved to the New Forest, Hamsphire. Since then I have been a full time mum to 3 small children, now 3,5 and 7 years old. After an 8 year break, I am very excited to have the opportunity of returning to the sheep industry. My current role is as part-time support to Will Sawday, Technical Manager for the Texel Society genomic projects. I will help Will with the day to day administration and the recruitment of Membership flocks.

Society Matters

The Society will be hosting buffet receptions at the following events... Royal Ulster Show - following Judging on Wednesday 13th May at the Texel Marquee Royal Highland Show - from 5.00pm on Friday 19th June, served in the Countryside Refreshments Marquee (Outside the door of the Highland Hall at the north gate entrance, directly across from the sheep lines)

Royal Welsh Show - following judging on Monday 20th July in the Texel Marquee (Sheep ring side)

Chief Executive John Yates welcomes new graduate Will Sawday, to the Society office. Will takes up the role of the Texel technical project manager and will be supported by Clare Glenn, project assistant.

Note this is a break from previous style reception at this event and a light buffet/baguettes will be available immediately after judging.


BBC Radio Scotland TAIL DOCKING Young Traditional The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA, previously AHVLA) has asked all Musician for 2015. show and Breed societies to remind its Caroline Hastings of the Courthill flock had reason to celebrate in style this week when her daughter Claire was named the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the year at a glittering ceremony in Glasgow on Sunday evening. Congratulations Claire from all in the Texel Society.

Society Show Receptions 2015

Great Yorkshire Show - from 5.30pm in the Texel Marquee

Will Sawday Technical Project Manager I have always had great enthusiasm for farming and from a young age I knew that the agricultural industry is where I wanted to work, and last summer I graduated from SRUC in Edinburgh with a degree in Agriculture. My ardent interest for sheep breeding originates from my home farm in the Brecon Beacons where we breed a stud flock of Romneys for the sale of tups and breeding ewes. I am particularly interested in the recording and genetic improvement aspects of sheep breeding, which is why I am already enjoying getting stuck into my new job here at the Texel Society.


members that when docking lambs’ tails they need to ensure there is sufficient tail left to cover the anus of males and the vulva of females, and to do so as the lambs grow and conformation changes. It is appreciated that this problem occurs in a minority of flocks, but APHA continues to receive evidence that the problem persists at a low level. APHA will take action when evidence of short docking is observed. This may involve an investigation and a report that leads to prosecution.


YDP Classes at Royal Welsh Show • Texel Breeder Young Handlers Class (16yrs of age & under) • Texel Breeder Young Handlers Class (17yrs of age & over) Classes are for Texel ram lambs only. Goody bags available for all entrants


Spring 2015


Robbie & Lorraine Rendall WESTRAY TEXELS T

he Texel breed is becoming increasingly popular on the Orkney Isles, boosted by the enthusiasm of several up-and-coming young breeders. Robbie Rendall was brought up on the Island of Westray, where his family ran a salmon farm and kept a 700-strong cross ewe flock, which they put to Texel and Suffolk tups. He was always keen on the Texel breed, and in the year 2000, he established the Westray flock with the purchase of an Ettrick gimmer – a daughter of Ettrick Drambuie, bought for 1250gns. “I was advised to go to Lanark, for a good choice of breeding, and I wasn’t disappointed. We flushed the Ettrick ewe and the majority of our current females go back to her,” explained Robbie, who now runs 35 pedigree ewes. The family relocated to mainland Orkney four years ago, and the Westray Texels now run on 50 acres at Harray, along with a handful of suckler cows. Outwith the livestock, Robbie also works as a blacksmith and carries out some engineering work too. “Since moving, I’ve been able to put a bit more focus on the Texel flock, and work towards getting them to where we want them to be. The fact that the majority of them go back to the

Westray gimmers

Ettrick ewe means that we have a fairly consistent, even flock – I like a medium sized ewe, that can carry her head high, with good legs and skin, and she needs a bit of flash.” An ET daughter of the Ettrick ewe, out of Thinacres Grenade, stood overall sheep champion at the Orkney County Show as a gimmer, in 2002. Since then, the Rendalls have twice won the breed championship at the County Show, and have won the Texel section at Dounby three years in a row. Lifestyle

10 Spring 2015

Westray ram lambs

“The competition is getting stronger at the shows, with a lot of keen young breeders, which is great to see. I didn’t grow up with pedigree stock, so I’ve had to learn a lot as I’ve gone along. I’ve always thought the ones that are involved from a young age are really lucky, they have a great depth of knowledge that is hard to match – it takes a lot of time and dedication to breed pedigree stock,” said Robbie, who lambs the ewes inside, from mid-February onwards.

within the breed. On the social side, it’s a brilliant breed to be involved in – I’ve had great fun and made a lot of friends through the Texels,” he said. “From a commercial point of view, Orkney can be wet and windy, with long winters, but a good, strong Texel cross ewe can withstand anything, they can even handle the salt on the ground, and it takes a hardy ewe to face up to that,” he added.

Legs and skins are important when it comes to picking tups too – and over the years, those used have included Ettrick Kracker, Kelso Referee, Knock Reebock, Mitchellhill Paparazzi and more recently, Baltier Thunderbird. “I’ve definitely found an improved choice of lambs at the Lanark sale in recent years. A while back, they seemed to be losing their carcase, but they look to be back on track, focusing on the commercial attributes again. It can be tough to find different breeding though, but I suppose that’s inevitable with so much flushing and sharing tups.” Robbie’s shearlings are often sold privately, with lambs heading to Lanark and Kirkwall, and occasionally Thainstone and Stirling. It’s a long journey to get to any sales off the island, and can often take its toll on the lambs, but that doesn’t deter Robbie from the positive aspects of pedigree breeding. “The Texel Society is a forward-thinking society and seems to take everything on board; they are good at addressing problems


Spring 2015


New for 2015 Support for attendance at the Industry’s Sheep Breeders Round table, will be available to young Texel breeders nominated by the Clubs and Society. This extension to our YDP seminar and conference support scheme will provide a useful mechanism for a wider number of Texel breeders to mix with experts and scientists at this well respected event run by AHDB Beef & Lamb.

Elliott & Johnny Bell Kiltariff Texels Texels impress on Rathfriland farm

Further information and details of the support package will be sent by the Society to Club Secretaries and be available on the Society website – YDP page, later this Spring. Venue: Eastwood Grange Hotel Nottingham Dates: 20-22nd November (2 nights), Friday afternoon through to Sunday lunch. The Texel YDP programme includes a variety of social and promotional events at the Shows and Sales ranging from show and sale classes through to Charity fund raising events. If you want to get involved in any of the activities contact your YDP regional representative or the Society office.

Youth Focus

12 Spring 2015

Brothers Elliott and Johnny Bell are the eighth generation to farm at Moorfield situated just on the edge of Rathfriland, Co Down.


he farm which originally was arable and grassland has more recently diversified with the establishment of “Moorfield Flowers” in 2009, and a wind turbine which was erected just a couple of years ago. Texel sheep were introduced in 1985 when their father Barclay first acquired females to form his Kiltariff flock. Over the years Elliott and Johnny have grown to fully appreciate the merits that the breed has to offer and are both involved in the day to day management of the flock. Ewes are maintained at around 70 head, and are lambed indoors from February onwards. Whilst the brothers both work away from the farm full time they find that the Texels require minimal management, and work best within their farming systems. Elliott (28) is a Beef and Lamb policy officer for the Ulster Farmers Union, whilst younger brother Johnny (26) works for a busy estate agent specialising in land management. Both of these careers mean that the pair needs to work with a breed of sheep that requires low labour input on a daily basis, and still deliver exceptional results. Elliott adds “We were brought up with Texels on the farm and have had great enjoyment working with them during this time. The Northern Ireland Regional Club is a very active one, and our family have strong links with it as dad is a past Chairman.”

In more recent times Johnny and Elliott have got involved with the NI Young Breeders Club, which has gone from strength to strength since it was formed. The duo attend as many shows as they can, and are regular exhibitors at Armagh, Newry and Castlewellan Shows. Each year a number of females are handpicked for flushing, based on past performance and bloodlines. This season’s sires used are recent purchases at Lanark “Cowal Viceroy” and “Westerhoy Viking”. “We are very much looking forward to the first progeny from these lambs. The aim will be to bring our first draw to the Premier Sale at Ballymena, and then to smaller sales that are organised by the Texel Club.” A number of rams are also sold each year directly off farm, with many repeat customers year on year. Moving forward the Bell brothers firmly see a place for Texel on their farm. The breed has consistently performed well for them for almost three decades. While the visual and handling of the sheep will remain paramount, the pair would also like to continue genetic improvement and recording performance of the flock. There is a real focus on health also within the daily management plan paying particular attention to feet and udders.

Youth Focus

Spring 2015


1st - English

Foreman Hill Viper LMA1400097

M Leggat - Foreman Hill

Young flocks shine at

Texel National Sales A

change in format at the 2014 Texel Sheep Society National Sales saw a new class introduced to the pre-sale shows at all four sales with a new Youth Development Program ram lamb class implemented for ram lambs from flocks registered in the last five years. Giving an opportunity for new flocks to shine outside of the large open and recorded classes.

Auchencairn Tello son out of a dam by Duncryne Ringmaster. He sold to Cyril and Martin Millar for their Millar’s flock, with half of this lamb taken by Andrew Kennedy for the Maineview flock. Second place in the class went to Robert and Andrew Kennedy’s Maineview Vanarama, while in third was Andrew Fyffe’s Fairywater Vendetta.

This new class will also gain a new title for 2015, “the YDP Novice flocks class”, and is eligible for all flocks founded from January 1st 2010. The NI National sale Young breeder’s class remaining unchanged under the care of the NI Young breeders club.

The Scottish National Sale, Lanark, saw Melanie Alford take top spot in the YDP class with her lamb Foxhillfarm Vinnie, with this lamb going on to be tapped out as reserve male champion. Second here was Allan Campbell’s Strawfrank Van Persie and third was Tom and Ian Walling’s Whitlaw Valencia.

Strongly supported at all sales a number of lambs from these classes went on to make their mark in the show championships and notched up strong sale prices too. As has been proved consistently in recent years the Texel breed is easily accessible to breeders of all ages and experience.

At the Welsh National Sale, Welshpool, first place in this new class went to Young Venture Vantastic from Grace Rosie Holden, with this lamb selling at 2600gns. He’s by Teiglum Unique and is out of a Knock Playboy dam. Taking this one home was W T Davies, Penparc, Ceredigion.

The exceptional performance of a number of relatively young flocks at both show and sales in the last five years has shown that anyone can get to the top of the breed if they apply themselves.

In second spot was Matthew Ellis’ Cressage Vulture, with Robert Evans’ Hope Valley Vanguard in third place.

These new classes at the National Sales are designed to both acknowledge this and encourage newer breeders to participate at what are the headline events for the breed across the UK. At the Northern Irish National Sale, Ballymena, Mark Breen, Augher, Co Tyrone, took first place in the class, with his lamb, Ballygreenan Victor, going on to sell for 3000gns. This was an

The final National Sale of the year, the English National at Worcester saw Michael Leggat’s lamb, Foreman Hill Viper take the red ticket. This is a Tullagh Saracen son out of a dam by Glenside Razzle Dazzle. Taking second spot was Paul and Baillie O’Connor’s lamb Drumgooland Vanquish, with Baillie O’Connor himself taking third place with Windermere Vantage.

Youth Focus

14 Spring 2015

1st - Northern Irish

1st - Welsh

Ballygreenan Victor BX01400409

Young Venture Vantastic HFQ1401314

Mark Breen - Ballygreenan

Gracie Rose Holden - Young Venture

Our Youth Development Programme has a number of initiatives planned in the coming year aimed at helping future farmers, the first of which was the Society’s sponsorship of the Young Shepherd of the Year Competition at The NSA Central Region Winter Fair at Bakewell on 29 January. An impressive 22 under-27year-olds battled with the tough conditions to compete in the Young Shepherd of the Year competition, with Tom Bird of Derbyshire taking the overall title and the prize for best under 21-year old.

1st - Scottish

Foxhillfarm Vinnie AXO1400072

The Society also provided hands on technical workshop at the event in conjunction with the AHDB beef & Lamb ultrasound scanner Andrew Steel (pictured above). Mr & Mrs M Alford - Foxhillfarm

Youth Focus

Spring 2015



Performance recording may seem a relatively modern concept to many pedigree breeders, but the Laird family of Cambwell, Biggar, have been using it as a tool to improve their Texel flock for the best part of 30 years.

Here Robert Laird explains how he uses recording to manage the Cambwell flock and the benefits it brings.

It has also allowed us to breed hardy sheep that can thrive on their particular type of land – 850 feet above sea level.

Q: When was Cambwell flock founded? A: The flock was founded by my father in 1974 with some encouragement from the late Jimmy Minto and has been on the farm ever since. It is the oldest flock with a continuous history in the breed today.

Q: How has that been achieved? A: We pay careful attention to the performance of different dam lines and have noted over the years the sires which leave sheep able to cope with our harsher environment. 80% of the flock can now be traced back to one ewe we bought in 1977.

Q: When did you start recording and what gave you the confidence to record? A: We started in the early 1980s and were encouraged by the progress that other sectors had made as a result of recording. The dairy and pig industries were both making significant genetic progress through recording. Q: Is performance recording just a marketing tool or does it bring other benefits too? A: There’s no doubt performance recording is beneficial when it comes to selling rams. However, what’s equally if not more important for us is the detailed information we learn about our female lines as a result of recording. Q: Why do you feel that sort of information is important to the flock’s development? A: We’ve definitely found that daughters of high index sheep seem to breed particularly well, and the lambs are more consistent, with less of a bottom end.

Robert, Amy, Joyce and Kim Laird

Q: How does recording affect your choice of tups? A: When it comes to buying a tup, the figures have to be right and meet my criteria before I’ll even look at it. Q: Does that mean recording is the primary criteria when buying tups? A: It’s about trying to get a balance – there’s no point in breeding or buying a high index sheep if it doesn’t look like a Texel and it’s lost the breed characteristics. But equally, there’s no point having a great looking sheep that doesn’t perform. Q: Which tups have left their mark in the flock from a recording and sales point of view? A: In 2009 we bought Cowal Powerhouse for 8000gns. He had an index of 380, along with an exceptional carcass and top, and he proved himself as a breeder too, siring the 40,000gns Cambwell Rob Roy and the 28,000gns Cambwell Socrates. The current senior stock sire is Cambwell Trademark, a son of Sportsmans Supreme, boasting an index of 419 and is out of Lifestyle

16 Spring 2015

a massive full sister to Robroy. We have some excellent ewe lambs off Trademark, born in 2014, and one in particular that is a great example of a high index sheep that looks the part too. She is LTC1402050, with an index of 389 and was placed second at Stirling Show last summer and weighed 90kgs in January this year.

lambs on a regular basis and providing the chance to compare one year’s lamb crop with previous generations. From 1999 to 2014 our average scan weight EBV has increased from 4.42kg to 10.56kg, while muscle depth has lifted from 1.4 to 2.19 and the overall flock index has risen from 184 to 293.

Q: What about homebred tups? A: The most well known of our homebred tups we’ve kept would be Cambwell Laird. He was used for 5 years and has an index of 295 and has bred tups to 10,000gns and gimmers to 16,000gns, with semen selling for export as well as domestic use.

Q: Is the overall index the most important factor in your decision making process? A: Definitely not. We focus on individual traits which are important to our particular farm, such as muscle and fat depth. Being on quite a high farm, it is vital for us to have sheep with positive fat, whereas that’s not so important for lower farms.

Q: Is recording more important than showing? A: The show ring can sometimes distort what’s important about the breed, so it’s good having the performance recorded classes now, which promote looks and performance. We’ve won the performance recorded class at the Royal Highland on eight occasions.

Q: How does that impact on flock management? A: We really saw the difference two years ago, when the wet weather was causing an increase in cases of fluke. Those sheep with positive fat definitely handled the challenges a lot better. If our sheep are bred to do well on our higher ground, then they should definitely go on and do well elsewhere.

Q: Do you think recording is becoming more mainstream in the breed? A: For us recording has always been an important part of our flock management. But there’s definitely been a higher uptake in recording in recent years, which will mean a wider pool of bloodlines to choose from when it comes to buying tups.

Q: What about the benefits for commercial producers? A: We run a commercial flock ourselves and by using high EBV tups on the crossbred ewes the lambs are easier fleshed and, therefore, can be finished quicker and the ewe lambs which will go on to be sold as recipient ewes, are of a higher standard.

Q: How does recording affect your sales? A: We sell across the country, at both Lanark sales, Worcester, Carlisle, Ruthin and Kelso and the buyers at each sale are all different. Our main concern is that we are breeding sheep that go on and do well. By recording the flock we think there’s more chance of that happening. Having the figures behind them helps give buyers a bit of assurance that they will perform.

Q: But isn’t growth the more important criteria for commercial farms looking to get lambs away quickly? A: There’s no point in having growthy lambs unless they are easy fleshed – we had a lamb last year that was 6kg when born, 42kg at eight weeks and 49kg when it was killed at 11 weeks. That’s what our commercial buyers want.

Q: Does recording bring a lot of extra work to flock management? A: Not particularly, we weigh lambs at birth and eight weeks which ties in with other management tasks and the muscle depth and back fat scanning takes place at 20 weeks along with another weighing. We also select up to 10 tup lambs to be CT scanned too which helps increase the accuracy of the EBVs.

Q: Increasing numbers of commercial flocks are keeping back Texel cross ewe lambs, can recording help them too? A: Without a doubt. Recording is applicable to every situation so long as you pay attention to the individual trait indices. Positive fat depth will mean ewes holding their condition better and requiring less concentrate and the maternal and mature size indices can also be influential when choosing tups to breed replacement females with.

Q: How easy is it to understand the data produced? A: We receive three data sets a year meaning we can compare


Spring 2015


Flock Health Security OUR EXPERT

Kath Dun BVM&S, Cert SHP, MRCVS Galedin Veterinary, Kelso Flock Health Security

The phrase “biosecurity” became a buzz word following Foot and mouth disease in 2001. However the concepts are nothing new and it is simply a term for the measures taken to prevent the introduction of new disease agents or problems to your flock. The problems you want to avoid are many and varied, such as: • Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) • Contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) • Enzootic abortion (EAE) • Jaagsiekte (OPA) • Johnes disease • Maedi-Visna (MV) • Resistant worms • Resistant fluke • Ringworm • Sheep scab If you don’t have these conditions on your farm it is only common sense to try and prevent their arrival and protect your good flock health status. Generally speaking the most common way for these to arrive on your farm is in or on another sheep and remember that this includes your own sheep if they have been away from home for whatever reason. The different points discussed below need to be tailored to suit different farms and different production systems and should be included in the flock health plan which you should prepare along Have a quarantine policy for any of with your vet. your own sheep which leave home to go to shows, AI centres, on loan. 1. Maintain a closed They should probably be treated flock. The introduction of in the same way as purchased ewe lambs, gimmers, rams and sheep on return. the return of hoggs from winter grazings away from home all have to be taken into consideration. Having a truly closed flock may be difficult.


2. Source stock which is as healthy as possible. Examine stock carefully before purchase and ask the seller direct questions about their disease status. If making a private sale it may be possible to do some health testing before the animals leave their holding of origin, just as is done for stock which is to be exported. Make use of certified stock for enzootic abortion if buying female breeding stock. Ideally you would source new stock directly from another farm as every movement to market and in transport carries a small risk of acquiring some of the conditions listed. 3. Provide adequate quarantine sheds or pastures. New stock should be isolated away from all other stock for at least three weeks and only mixed with your own stock if all in the group are healthy at the end of the period. Quarantine pastures should have been clear of stock for at least three weeks before introducing new stock. Inspect very carefully for skin problems and lameness while in quarantine. It may be possible to do some blood testing during this period to check the status of your new sheep in respect of some of the conditions listed above. 4. Strategically treat new stock for all parasitic conditions i.e. worms, fluke, scab. This needs to be discussed fully with your vet. A comprehensive treatment programme has to be devised to eliminate any resistant worms from your newcomers. The same applies to fluke treatments and it may require new sheep to be isolated and treated for fluke over a period of a couple of months to ensure you are not importing resistant fluke. Remember once you have resistant fluke or worms on your farm, it is almost impossible to eliminate them completely 5. Have a quarantine policy for any of your own sheep which leave home to go to shows, AI centres, on loan. They should probably be treated in the same way as purchased sheep on return. In summary plan ahead and remember that although the biggest risk to your sheep is from other sheep - visitors, contractors, vets, other animals, feedstuffs and imported slurry/ dung can all potentially introduce disease to your flock. Where possible keep them away from your stock and insist on high levels of hygiene. Vet Outlook

18 Spring 2015

Have you seen cases of nephrosis?

In some areas of the country nephrosis is an important annual cause of ill-thrift and death in lambs aged 2-10 weeks old. In severe outbreaks in parts of northern England as many as 3% of lambs in a flock have been affected. Clinical signs: lambs with nephrosis are dull and staggery (“drunken lamb syndrome�), scouring and unwilling to suckle for several days before death. On post mortem examination of the kidneys are enlarged and pale, often with a soft, watery feel when cut – findings are consistent with severe toxic damage to the kidneys. Nephrotic lambs develop an acidosis which allows leakage of intracellular potassium into the circulation. High concentrations of circulating potassium can lead to heart failure.

Outbreaks of coccidiosis most commonly occur in lambs 4-8 weeks old and are caused by two pathogenic strains of the protozoal parasite, Eimeria. In general, coccidiosis only occurs as a primary problem when stressed animals are exposed to large numbers of coccidial oocysts (eggs) in a heavily contaminated environment. Coccidiosis therefore is essentially a disease of intensive husbandry and can become an important condition in intensively managed housed lambs where hygiene levels are less than adequate. It is less usual for it to become a problem under normal summer grazing patterns unless there is heavy contamination around feed troughs in creep areas during warm, wet weather. Around 2-3 weeks following the ingestion of coccidial oocysts from a contaminated environment, ewes will shed oocysts via the faeces thus further contaminating the surroundings. Oocysts are relatively resistant in the environment with the level of disease in direct relation to the degree of infection ingested. In addition to ewe contribution to the oocyst build up, early lambs which may not ingest sufficient oocysts to become clinically infected themselves, can increase environmental contamination for later born lambs. Clinical signs of coccidiosis are characterised by a high percentage of the lamb flock 4-8 weeks old showing signs of acute diarrhoea, dullness, abdominal pain and anorexia leading to rapid dehydration and weight loss. In severe cases there may be an acute bloody scour with partial prolapse


No cause has been identified as yet and Outbreaks of coccidiosis in because the risk factors for lambs are usually managed by the disease are unknown, it is a difficult condition whole flock treatment with to control. Response to diclazuril (Vecoxan). supportive therapy in affected lambs is generally poor although there has been some success with drenching lambs with sodium bicarbonate solutions to counteract the acidosis. Concurrent nematodirus or cryptosporidia infections have been suggested as predisposing factors. However, the disease has also been seen in flocks with no history of these conditions, so little can be advised regarding prevention.

of the rectum due to continual straining. There is usually considerable faecal staining of the perineum and tail. The diagnosis of coccidiosis is based on the history of intensive management, age of lambs and presenting clinical signs. The important differential diagnosis to be considered is nematodirus in young grazing lambs. Faecal oocyst counts are usually >100,000 oocysts per gram of faeces where cocci is causing problem, however counts must be interpreted with great care as only 2 of the cocci species in sheep are considered to be pathogenic. In severe infections, clinical disease may be seen before oocysts are shed in the faeces. Diagnosis is usually confirmed on post mortem. In flocks where coccidiosis is a high risk due to intensive management, the coccidiostat drug decoquinate (Deccox) can be fed in creep feed to lambs and also be fed to the ewes before and during lambing to reduce the level of shedding of oocysts in the ewes. In feed medication with Deccox is expensive and the danger of using this strategy is that the animals fail to develop good immunity and there is a risk of disease in older lambs once the coccidiostat is removed. It is good practice to avoid grazing young lambs in fields previously grazed by older ones. Outbreaks of coccidiosis in lambs are usually managed by whole flock treatment with diclazuril (Vecoxan). Treated lambs should then be moved off the pasture to prevent reinfection before they have time to develop protective immunity. Where coccidiosis is an annual problem, many farmers choose to preventatively drench the whole group with diclazuril as soon as clinical signs are suspected in lambs. Vet Outlook

Spring 2015


Invitational & Collective Sale Report T

he annual round of collective female sales were once again the scene of some high figured sales, with leading breeders and new flocks keen to secure the best of breeding potential ahead of the lambing season. This year’s Select Seven sale on in-lamb Texels at Lanark saw the Clark brothers, Alan, Dye and Andrew, take the three best prices of the day, with sales at 7500gns, 7000gns and 4000gns. Their sale leader, a gimmer from the Clarks flock, one of three flocks run by the family, was DCX1302318, an ET bred daughter of Strathbogie Smokey Blue out of a dam by Rascarrel Panther and in-lamb to Castlecairn Vavavoom. She sold to Stephen Cobbald for the Lavenham flock, Suffolk.

consignment, REW1304094. This Beeford Pimpernel sired gimmer is out of a Castlecairn Karma Man. She sold in-lamb carrying triplets to Knock Talisman and was bought by Procters Farm, Clitheroe. And at the Christmas Stars sale at Carlisle the best of the sale was a 14,000gns bid for a gimmer from Jim Innes’ Strathbogie flock in the form of IJS1300278. This Scholars Twenty Twelve daughter is out of a Glenside Razzle Dazzle daughter and sold in lamb to the 52,000gns Mullan Vivaldi, himself a son of the 2014 sire of the year Oberstown Usain Bolt. Buyer was Graham Morrison for his Aberdeenshire-based Deveronvale flock.

Second best of the sale at 7000gns was another gimmer from the Clarks flock and the first of the day from the Clark brothers. This was DCX1302322, another by Smokey Blue and out of a dam by Teiglum Rembrandt which is maternal sister to Garngour Rob Roy. She sold carrying to Springwell Ulsterboy and was the choice of Charlie Boden for the Boden and Davies partnership’s Sportsmans flock.

Second best at 9000gns was the first gimmer from Keith, Alan and Roy Campbell’s Cowal pen. This daughter of the 2012 Lanark champion Cairnam Talisman carries Kelso Pavarotti and Muiresk Northern Dancer through her mother’s pedigree and her dam is full sister to Cowal Rob Roy II, Sportsmans Supreme and Cowal Scottish Star. She sold in lamb to the 145,000gns Knap Vicious Sid and was knocked down to Boden and Davies, Cheshire, for the Sportsmans flock.

Two then followed at 4000gns with the first of these being a Teiglum gimmer again from the Clark family. This was CFT1302425, a Scholars Tiny Tempo daughter out of a dam by Teiglum Outlaw and going back to Craighead Masterpiece. She was sold in-lamb to Eglur Vesuvius and was bought by Angus McColm for the Crailloch flock.

Recouping some of the earlier spend when selling at 6500gns were Messrs Boden and Davies. Their pen topper was a gimmer from the Sportsmans flock, BGS1300870. This one is a daughter of the 42,000gns Tullylagan Tonka out of a Milnbank Special One bred mother. Also selling in lamb to Knap Vicious Sid she was knocked down to Edward Pugh of the Glanllyn flock.

The other at this level was an Ettrick gimmer from Gordon Gray’s offering. This was GGH1303113, a twin born Knock Topaz daughter out of a dam by Knock Reebok and going back to Teiglum Nevada. She sold in-lamb to Hilltop Valhalla and was bought by Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn.

A substitute entry from Robbie Wilson’s Milnbank flock was the next highest seller when going at 6000gns. This was LYM1301128, a daughter of the 60,000gns Teiglum Tornado out of a dam line which includes Glenside Razzle Dazzle and Strathbogie Python. She sold in lamb to the 42,000gns purchase Glenside Valhalla and heads to Aberdeenshire with C G Paterson, Huntly.

Trade at the Christmas Cracker sale of Texel in-lamb females at Carlisle saw the first consignment, John Forsyth’s Glenside entry, set trade going with a bang.

Also making 6000gns was another entry from the Cowal flock, CKC1303056. This Cambwell Socrates daughter is out of a Muiresk Northern Dancer daughter which was a second prize winner at the Royal Highland Show in 2011. Again sold in lamb to Knap Vicious Sid, she found a new home with Richard Wilson for his Eden Valley flock.

Taking the evening’s top call of 4500gns was FPG1300627, a Mellor Vale The One daughter out of a dam by Strathbogie Python and in-lamb to the 38,000gns Castlecairn Vavavoom. She was bought by Archie Hamilton for the Smyllum flock. Second best of the sale came late in the day when Jonathan Watson sold at 2400gns from the Brijon flock. This call came for REW1304012, a daughter of the great breeding Brackenridge Strongbow out of a Croft Lexus sired dam. This one sold carrying twins to Knock Talisman and was bought by David and Matt Prince, Chesterfield. Then selling at 2200gns was another from the Brijon

The Twilight Texels sale of in-lamb gimmers reached a peak of 4400gns when the Procters flock sold a daughter of Scholars Twenty Twelve to her sire’s breeders William and Elizabeth McAllister, Malpas, Cheshire. This was PFD1302744 and is out of a dam by the 50,000gns Haddo Ringleader which was reserve female champion at the Great Yorkshire Show this summer. She sold in-lamb to the 11,000gns Tophill Union Jack, Lanark champion 2013. Sales

20 Spring 2015

Clarks - Select Seven - DCX1302318 - sold for 7500gns

R Henderson - Christmas Stars - Ballynahone HBR1300572 - sold for 4,000gns

PFD1302744 4400gns Proctors Gimmer shone at the Twilight sale

Isle of Skye-based buyer Donald Rankin then paid 4000gns for the lead gimmer from the Knox family’s Haddo pen. This was KWJ1300574, a Knock Trojan daughter out of a dam by Anglezarke Nimrod and in-lamb to Garngour Vintage, a 13,000gns purchase.

Knock Travis daughters were the pick of the prices at Northern Stars Sale, with a top call of 4000gns and the top four prices all paid for Travis daughters. Top call of the sale came for one from Richard Henderson’s Ballynahone flock. Ballynahone’s sale topper was the Knock Travis daughter HBR1300572, a gimmer out of a dam by the great breeding Douganhill McFly and in-lamb to Teiglum Vigilante. She is from the same family as females sold to a top of 11,000gns and was the choice of G Jones, Henllan, Denbigh, for the Miefod flock. Taking the sale’s next best price at 3700gns was another Travis daughter, this time from Roger Strawbridge’s Tamnamoney consignment. This one, SRY1300753, is out of a Ballynahone Risotto daughter and sold carrying to Sportsmans Scania. She sold to Southern Ireland with L Brown, Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Then at 3600gns was Alastair Gault’s best of the sale, another by Travis, GAF1300837, from the Forkins flock. Also out of a McFly daughter she sold in-lamb to Duncryne Uber Cool and is from the same line as gummers to 11,000gns. Buying her was Stuart Barclay, Harestone, Aberdeenshire. Top call of the Northern Lights Sale of in-lamb females at Hilltown, Northern Ireland, went to a gimmer from Jim Wilson’s Blackstown flock. This sale topper at 2500gns was WWB1300469, a Teiglum Target daughter out of a dam by Blackstown Rambo and going back to the noted Clynnog Joe Tex. She sold carrying to Springhill V Tech and sold to Ronan Gallagher, Co Sligo. Next to follow at 2100gns was the best of the sale from Texel Society president Henry Gamble’s Springwell flock. This was GRS1301215, a Cambwell Terminator daughter out of a dam

by Derryvore Ranger and in-lamb to Eglur Viscount. She was knocked down to Andrew Fyffe for the Fairywater flock. Then making 1900gns was the Currie family’s best, CJT1300555, an ET bred Glenside Topgun daughter from the Tullagh flock. She’s out of a dam by Gruig Outlaw and sold in-lamb to 2013 Lanark champion Tophill Union Jack. Taking this one home was Adrian Liggett for the Corbo flock, Omagh.

The third major in-lamb Texel female sale in Northern Ireland of the season saw trade strong throughout and buyers keen to source fresh blood when the January Gems sale hit a high of 1600gns at Ballymena. Heading the prices at 1600gns twice was John Trimble’s Curley flock, with his first at this level being a gimmer by Haddo Ringleader and ET bred out of a homebred dam by Milestonehill O’Gara. This one goes back to Hillhead Ferrari and sold carrying twins to the 8000gns Cowal Viceroy. She was bought by John McPolin, Hilltown, Co Down. The other at this money from the Curley consignment was a daughter of Brackenridge Transformer out of a Mellor Vale Masterpiece daughter which is ET sister to the 12,000gns Curley Orlando. She was offered in-lamb to Ballybrooney Van Persie and sold to Henry Gamble, Bangor, Co Down, for the Springwell flock. And making 1400gns was the Mullan family’s best from the Blue Gates flock. This was MUC1300161, a Mullan Superfly daughter out of a dam by Downkillybegs Nero and in-lamb to Millcomb Vindicator. She sold carrying twins and was bought by Barclay Bell, Rathfrilland, Co Down. Following her at 1350gns was the best of the day from the Simpson and Calvin partnership’s Ballyhivistock entry, a Hull House Schnapps daughter. This gimmer, SCY1300607, is out of a dam by Beechvale Kudos and sold in-lamb to Llyfni Vidal when bought by Alistair Breen, Tempo, Co Down.


Spring 2015


Changes to the calculation of Maternal Ability EBV in Texel sheep


Sion Parry, BSc Signet Breeding Consultant


he Maternal Ability EBV is designed to identify breeding lines where ewes express superior maternal performance as mothers. In this context “maternal performance” is being assessed in terms of lamb growth rate, highlighting that element of 8 week weight that is due to the maternal care and milk provided to the lamb by its mother. The Maternal Ability EBV is expressed independently of prolificacy¹, although it does take into account the number of lambs that a ewe is rearing so that the Maternal Ability EBV of a ewe producing singles/multiples is not biased in any way. The raw data measurement used to assess a ewe’s maternal ability is the 8 week weight of her lamb or lambs.

Recent changes to the Maternal Ability EBV Recent research has identified there is a better way to assess maternal ability and the new approach will be used for Texel sheep in breeding evaluations produced in 2015.

How has the calculation of the Maternal Ability EBV changed?

Historically it has been difficult to model the direct and maternal genetic influences on animal performance simultaneously due to the computational power required and software limitations within some of the statistical packages used. The new approach and access to bigger computers takes direct and maternal genetic influences on lamb 8 week weight into account simultaneously.

Eight week weights are analysed to take into account • The contemporary group in which lambs are reared – taking into account flock/season/sex • Litter size reared • Dam age • Direct genetic influence on lamb growth rate from sire and dam – this becomes the Eight Week Weight EBV • Maternal genetic influence on lamb growth rate from dam – this becomes the Maternal Ability EBV • Temporary environmental influences on the lamb • Permanent environmental influences on the dam

How does the analysis decide to attribute weight gain to either the lambs own genes for growth or its mother’s milking ability?

Imagine a ram being used within a flock over a period of time. In the first generation his progeny – male and female will be directly influenced by his genes for growth rate. In the next generation his daughters will produce lambs whose performance is influenced by the sire’s genes for growth and also his genes for milk production now being expressed by his daughters. If the analysis determines that his daughters are constantly producing much heavier lambs than those produced by his sons – having taken environmental and genetic differences into Technical Corner

22 Spring 2015


Breeders wishing to change the prolificacy of their flocks are advised to use the Litter Size EBV.

account – then this difference is attributed to the maternal ability (milk and maternal care) of his daughters.

is not its natural mother and hence its genetic dam is credited with having provided genes that may have influenced the lambs growth rate, but is not given any credit for having reared the lamb – this credit is attributed to the recipient/foster ewe.

What happens when a ewe gets mastitis?

In an ideal world a record would be held indicating if the ewe had mastitis and this environmental influence could be fitted within the BLUP model. In practice this data is not currently available and breeders are left with the options of omitting weight data for these lambs or putting them into a separate management group. If records are submitted for lambs produced by ewes suffering from mastitis the analysis will still try to handle the data correctly to avoid introducing sudden bias into the breeding value calculations.

How are embryo recipient ewes and foster ewes handled within the BLUP analysis?

Providing that embryo transfer and foster details are recorded correctly, the analysis recognises that the ewe rearing the lamb

Records are not analysed in isolation and the algorithms used will pick up and try and take into account unusual lamb weight profiles, for example, a ewe that has produced heavy lambs for three seasons and then lighter lambs for the next two, or a ewe where one lamb is markedly lighter than the other. Even a young ewe succumbing to mastitis will not see her EBVs automatically downgraded if a large number of her full and half-sisters are performing well; again the analysis still has confidence that the genetics within this breeding line are performing well. Technical Corner

Spring 2015


When should I ultrasound scan my Texel lambs? OUR EXPERT

Samuel Boon, BSc, MSc, Nuff Sch. Manager of Signet Breeding Services AHDB beef & lamb Breeding Specialist


ignet traditionally suggests that breeders scan their lambs at 21 weeks of age.


This year remember, before asking your Signet technician “when should I scan my Texel lambs” remember the answer is not “how old are they”, but “how well grown are they”?

When an ultrasound technician measures lambs using ultrasound it is important that variation can be picked up between lambs, both in terms of their muscle depth and fat depth measurements. When lambs are 21 weeks of age, they generally have sufficient variation to enable an accurate assessment to be made of these two carcase traits. The Texel breed is leaner than many of the breeds that are scanned by Signet and some Texel flocks are on forage based feeding regimes, aiming to sell later born lambs as shearlings – so it is sensible to ask if this recommendation is still relevant.

A study of Texel scanning data

A quick study of Texel records has now shown that when making recommendations to individual flocks, weight and degree of maturity (fat cover) are far more important than age per se. A lamb’s fat depth is much more closely related to its weight at scanning than its age at scanning. Heavier lambs also express more variation in their fat depth measurements – which is important when analysing this trait to produce an EBV.

Flocks feeding high levels of concentrates and producing lambs that are heavier and fatter at scanning can scan their lambs at a much younger age than those growing lambs more slowly on forage based diets. This work also showed the clear relationship between weight at scanning and muscle depth. Again the lamb’s weight at scanning has a bigger impact on the depth of muscle across the loin than its age. Signet consultants have often said that as a very crude rule of thumb, a lamb’s muscle depth should be half its weight i.e. a 60kg lamb should have a muscle depth of at least 30mm. This data shows this approximation is not far off the mark. These charts also show the enormous flock to flock variation seen in the weight, age and level of fat cover encountered when scanning Texel ram lambs over a single season.

So the next time a breeder tells you about the raw ultrasound scanning measurements obtained for their lambs, don’t just question how old they were when they were scanned – but ask how heavy they were and how much they had been fed – because as with all performance traits, these measures are influenced by both the animals genes and their environment.

Technical Corner

24 Spring 2015

Genomics of mastitis in Texel sheep


his is hugely exciting project as it has the potential to help make significant genetic improvements in traits that were previously very hard to breed for, such as disease resistance or meat quality traits.Teaming up with SRUC, a £450000 InnovateUK funded project will focus on the genomics of mastitis in meat sheep. The project aims to allow us to gain an understanding in the genetics that are influencing the ability of Texel sheep to resist mastitis using the very latest 700K SNP chip. From this genomic breeding values (GBV’s) for resistance to mastitis will be produced exclusively for pure and crossbred Texels. Providing a fantastic tool for breeders, and instrumental in reducing cases of such a disruptive disease affecting the industry. We are now targeting 25 Pedigree Texel flocks to conduct this

research on.These flocks will be at the hub of this pioneering research having already met selection criteria, based on significant recording and very good connectedness within the breed.We will collect data (phenotypes) from 3500 ewes this year and continue at key points of the lactating ewes until the summer of 2016, representing a database of in over 14,000 scores.Additionally DNA sampling will be carried out across all the candidate flocks using both the commercial 50K Chip and the 700K research High Density chip. Genomics is a massively unexploited resource in the sheep industry and whilst the industry structure does offer major challenges for its uptake. We hope this project will benefit its wider introduction, whilst adding more value to the Texel breed.

Ground breaking trial identifies new research opportunities Simultaneous selection for reduced waste and increased lean meat yield in Texel-sired slaughter lambs

This trial demonstrates the effects of genetics, the usefulness of CT and will also be another good example of a fruitful collaboration between Texel breeders and SRUC. A recently finished one-generation selection trial using Texel sires at SRUC aimed to prove the value of a simple CT (computed tomography) based selection trait (muscle weight / live weight), which can be used like a simple index aiming at increasing lean meat yield and reducing waste at the same time. This trait is very similar to lean meat yield percentage ( LMY%) that the pig industry pays on, but is also expected to reduce carcass waste in the abattoir. From over 200 CT-scanned rams in 2013, 12 rams were used, based on their own performance in this trait. To produce divergence, rams were chosen from both ends of the distribution. They were each mated in November 2013 to 15 Mule ewes and 259 lambs were born between 5/04/2014 and 19/04/2014 (29 single, 184 as twins and 46 as triplets).

These resulting lambs were followed through rearing, CT-scanned, and a month later slaughtered in an abattoir with electronic traceability to allow individual carcass feedback. 201 lambs were finally chosen for CT scanning and slaughter, narrowing down the age span and accounting for losses. They were all CT scanned between the 25th and 28th of August 2014, being on average 137d old (from 128 to 143d). To allow for the withdrawal period of the sedative, the animals were slaughtered about 33d later, at an average age of 170d (between 163 and

175d), in the Morrisons abattoir (Woodheads Brothers) at Turriff, because this abattoir has electronic traceability for individual lambs up to the point of carcass grading.

This allowed us to combine all preslaughter information on each lamb with the slaughter information (carcass grades and the price obtained). The analysis of the data is now ongoing and we aim to present the results of the study later on in spring 2015, as well as at the Sheep Breeders Round Table in November, if the organisers give us the opportunity.

The preliminary results to date suggest that the Texel sires with higher lean meat percentage went on to produce crossbred lambs with higher values for this trait, as measured by CT preslaughter. Favourable relationships with other carcass traits, such as killing out percentage, fatness and gigot muscularity have also been observed. It is of note that the “low rams” are not low value rams, as they had been selected to be CT scanned by their owners, indicating that they had potential as breeding stock. However, the preliminary results suggest that there was enough genetic variation in the selected sires for the traits of interest to see differences emerging in their crossbred offspring. This trial will demonstrate the effects of genetics, the usefulness of CT and will also be another good example of a fruitful collaboration between Texel breeders and SRUC. The SRUC team (mainly L. Bunger, N. Lambe, K. McLean and John Gordon) wishes to express their thanks to the Texel breeders, who contributed rams to the trial.

Technical Corner

Spring 2015


Society Fees This Notice supersedes all previous notices of costs and overrides any printed material which you may have in your possession. All fees take effect from January 1st 2015

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











(£2.16 Inc VAT)

(£2.44 Inc VAT)

(£12.00 Inc VAT)

(£13.53 Inc VAT)

1st January following year of Birth Onwards

Paper £112.75 (£135.30 Inc VAT)

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

26 Spring 2015

21st May 31st Dec in Year of Birth

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











(£6.30 Inc VAT)

(£7.10 Inc VAT)

(£6.84 Inc VAT)

(£7.72 Inc VAT)

1st November year following YOB onwards

Online £8.50

(£10.20 Inc VAT)

Tel/Paper £9.58

(£11.50 Inc VAT)

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


(£35.52 Inc VAT)

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

Transfers (only fully registered sheep can be transferred) Method




(£13.54 Inc VAT)


New Da


for Stand ard Birth Notificatio n Deadlin es

20th Ma y 2015

(Please note new members Adult fees will now only be accepted by Direct Debit payment) Adult Joining Fee - £60.00 (Inc VAT) Payable now Annual Subscription fee - £54.21 (Inc VAT) Payable now



Terms of Membership

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


discount for online fees

In 2009 S tandard Birth No tificatio cost £1.7 ns 9 In 2015 t he cost is still only £1.80

Spring 2015


In touch with Texel




Tag Cloud | 02476 696629 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 2015 March Bulletin  

Texel Sheep Society 2015 March Bulletin

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