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TEXEL The bulletin for all

Breeders A Texel Society Publication


Flock Feature

Quality is the watchword for Welsh Texel

Young handlers show their talent at National events Our dedicated Charity supports Youth Cancer Trust

Special Report Strong Commercial Confidence for Registered Pedigree Texel

In Touch with Texel #addtexeladdvalue


Supreme Champion - Royal Ulster - Cherryvale GCN1401261

Supreme Champion - Royal Highland - Procters - PFD1302614

Supreme Champion - Royal Norfolk - Eaubrink - BDI1502765

Supreme Champion - Royal Welsh - Procters - PFD1302614

Supreme Champion - Great Yorkshire - Hull House - GAL1200716

Royal Ulster Robert Cockburn


Winter 2015

Royal Highland Alastair Gault

Great Yorkshire Philip Kermode

Royal Welsh Henry Gamble

Royal Norfolk Anna Minnice-Hughes

TEXEL Breeders Bulletin

Texel Bulletin is published by the Texel Sheep Society Ltd twice a year in March and November. Texel demand high at WLS – Welshpool

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 David McKerrow, Nochnary flock

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

Texel providing marginal gains in a tough trading year.


s another show and sales season ends, Texel breeders reflect on a successful season. With a significant amount of Texel sales held throughout the UK, buyers have plenty to choose from, making it challenging for all Texel breeders to make each sale , especially when money is tight within the Industry. Are you doing everything you can to develop your flock to meet the future market requirements? The Society focuses on providing a breadth of information to help you improve your flock’s productivity and marketing potential. Additionally we have a range of publicity material to help promote the breed at a national level as well as provide support for local promotions. Our sales held up to this year’s challenges, with the Scottish National achieving a 78% clearance with 384 ram lambs sold, reflecting the outstanding commercial demand shown for the breed at this early season sale. The average settling at £2,368 boosted by the high value breeders rams on offer. This flag ship event grossed just short of the £1m at £998,655, the second highest in its history, following last year’s record breaking year. Two of the largest Ram sales held at Builth and Kelso showed the confidence commercial producers have in “registered Texel”.

At Kelso 875 shearlings sold to average £766 and at Builth 713 traded at £612, with Texel accounting for “one in four” of all rams sold from all breeds at these multi breed sales. 89% of Texel shearlings at Builth found a new home. A testament to the added value Texel provides with Texel sired lambs consistently earning premiums of 20p/Kg across the UK this season. Over 1,000 ram lambs that are born each year are used as stock sires within pedigree flocks. Even for a breed the size of the Texel, this shows the incredible diversity of male bloodlines being tested on an annual basis. Over 40% used are performance recorded themselves, a significant rise in recent years, ultimately it means that the performance of the breed is being more accurately assessed. It definitely indicates a wider choice of recorded rams are now available for pedigree breeders – ensuring that producers can select the type of Texel ram they like, and if they so choose backed up with performance figures.

John John Yates Chief Executive

“Society Flag ship event attracts the crowds” Front cover - Knock Will I am tops Scottish National sale at 70,000gns

TEXEL The bulletin for all

Breeders A Texel Society Publication


Flock Feature

Quality is the watchword for Welsh Texel

In touch with Texel @BritishTexel #addtexeladdvalue

Our Scottish National witnessed a level trade throughout, allowing a wider section of the membership involvement. No fewer than 11 ram lambs sold at five figure prices, combined with 53 ram lambs selling for more than 3000gns.

Young handlers show their talent at National events Our dedicated Charity supports Youth Cancer Trust

Special Report Strong Commercial Confidence for Registered Pedigree Texel

In Touch with Texel #addtexeladdvalue

Winter 2015


November 2015 16


Quality is the watchword at Welsh Texels - Tomos Evans

John McKerrow - Grougfoot, “Farmers Guardian” virtual Stock Judging Competition


Paul & Anna Johnson Corriecravie Texels


6. New Online Census

12. National Sales Round-up

7. Farewell to Angie and welcome to Kat at the Society office

13. 2015 Sire of the Year

8. Corriecravie Genetic progress

13. Commercial demand for “Registered Texel”

9. Running for charity benefits Youth Cancer Trust

14. 70,000Gns - Knock Will I Am, tops the Nationals

LIFESTYLE 16. Welsh Texels - Tomos Evans sets out the history and vision of his successful flock.

10. “Texel Top Tips” supporting knowledge transfer 11. Global performance for British Texel


Winter 2015



Meat Matters...

YOUTH FOCUS 20 - 21. Q & A with aspiring young breeders.

James Robinson & George Wilkinson offer their views on the Youth Development Programme and breeding Texels


Genomics Programme takes shape for Texel breed

TECHNICAL CORNER 24. Performances Recording ET Lambs 25. Meat matters ...

22. Young Handlers at the Royal Shows 23. Novice flock ram lamb class winners

28-29. Texel Genomics - Disease resistance studies

Winter 2015


News Society Matters

Society Matters

Flock Census for online users The census facility in Basco allows you to view and update your flock records whenever you like and as often as you like.You certainly don’t have to wait until the Society prompts you to update your records in the autumn! You also don’t have to wait to see changes take effect, e.g. if you register a ewe on the “Birth Notified Sheep” tab then it will appear straight away on the “Registered Sheep” tab. The “census” option can be seen as shown when you view your flock.

Society Matters Steve Smith

Mid Wales & Borders (Area 13) Director Roy Hughes, stood down from the Society Board at the AGM on November 14th when his current term ended, and commencing from the 14th November 2015 Steve Smith (Penparc), will represent Mid Wales & Borders (Area 13) for a 4 year term. North of Scotland (Area 1) Director, Graeme Knox, and South West of Scotland & Cumbria (Area 4) Director Roy Campbell both stood for a further 4 year terms unopposed.

For the attention of Regional Clubs Will Sawday, project manager of “Genomics of Mastitis in meat sheep” is available to visit and give talks at Club AGM’s & Meetings. You can contact him directly on or call on 07866061917

Academics contributions to livestock industry applauded Our congratulations are offered to Richard Dewhurst, SRUC Professor of Ruminant Nutrition and Production Systems and Lutz Bunger, SRUC Professor of Growth Genetics, for their significant contribution to science in these areas. Professor Richard Dewhurst with his lecture ‘Around the world and back again; Markers for precision and quality in ruminant production’. And Professor Bunger’s lecture ‘SX to 4XL’: unscrambling the genetic background of variation in growth and body composition.

Society Matters

Livestock event 2015 – Texel Prime Lamb Sponsorship At the 2015 Livestock event the Lleyn Society held a Lleyn/Texel commercial prime lamb competition sponsored by the Texel Society. The winner of the Lleyn ewe with Texel Lambs at foot was Dewi Lewis, Betws-Coed. The ewe weighed 65kg and the lambs 39kg each. Texel sired lambs provide excellent value in commercial production, consistently earning premiums of 20p/kg across the UK. Sponsoring the Lleyn competition is yet another example of how the Society forges links and collaborates with other organisations in industry.

John Yates with winner Dewi Ellis



Spring 2015

Society Matters

Society Matters

Texel - Farmers Guardian Stock Judging Competition 2015 For the second year in succession the Texel Sheep Society and the Farmers Guardian have joined forces to hold a virtual Stock Judging Competition. Entry was available in numerous editions of the Farmers Guardian and at various agricultural shows and events throughout the summer. The Judge of the competition was highly respected and renowned Texel breeder Mr John McKerrow - Grougfoot Texels, West Lothian. John’s selection is shown below with a brief explanation for his decision. X - Placed first as showing great breed character, the widest and deepest, well fleshed with a tremendous back end. A - Although longer this one lacked the character of the previous tup. Y - This one was a long clean tup but lacked the gigot of the previous two tups B - Lacked the length of the other Tups, deeper off his middle, poorer off his legs. The competition was very popular with several hundred entries received by the Farmers Guardian and the Texel Society. Those agreeing with John’s selection were put in a very large hat from which the winner was drawn along with five runners up. Winning the £250 + a Texel body warmer & beanie hat was Eirian Jones from Carmarthen. Five runners up each received a Texel Goody bag. John judging the real thing

Angela Dobson (Nee Hodgson) bids the Society farewell Long serving member of staff Angela Dobson made the difficult decision to retire from work following an accident in January. Her recovery has progressed remarkably well but she still has a way to go until she returns to full health. We wish her well in her retirement and congratulations on her recent marriage to Mark. She will be greatly missed by staff and members alike.

Society Matters The Society was sadly informed of the loss of some dear Members and Friends during 2015 Professor Steve Bishop Roslin Institute - April

Society Matters

Lynn Malcolmson – Brague & Ballievey Texels - August

Kat Maslany joins the Texel office flock

Bob Payne - Handbank Texels August

The society is pleased to announce an addition to our office flock. Kat joins us as our Registrations & Database Development Manager.

Robert Watts - Rowden Texels September

Following a first degree - BSc in Agriculture at Aberystwyth University of Wales and being awarded the ‘IBERS ‘ prize for Best Performance in BSc Agriculture and related degree systems. Kat is looking forward to putting her knowledge to work on the BASCO system and overseeing the Texel Society DNA testing services.

Christopher Neil Dowler Crimscote Texels - October Full obituaries are available on the Society website


Spring 2015


Event Dates 2016 NSA Events 1st June NSA SCOT SHEEP Blythbank, West Linton, Peebleshire 7th June NSA SOUTH SHEEP Pythouse Farm, Salisbury, Wiltshire 27th July NSA SHEEP EVENT Three Counties Showground Malvern 1st August NSA EARLY RAM SALE Builth Wells 18th - 19th September NSA WALES & BORDER MAIN RAM SALE Builth Wells

Royal Shows & Southern feature Show 11-13th May Royal Ulster Show 1st - 4th June Royal Bath & West Show 23rd-26th June Royal Highland Show 12th-14th July Great Yorkshire Show 18th-21th July Royal Welsh Show

Date for your Diary

2016 AGM & Social Weekend Co hosted by the Northern Texel Club Friday & Saturday 11th - 12th November Oulton Hall Leeds Yorkshire Full programme will be available in the March Bulletin

Society Matters

This year’s EBLEX most improved flock award Awarded for the recorded Texel flock showing the greatest genetic gain has been awarded to Paul and Anna Johnson’s Corriecravie flock, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. The full report is available on the Texel website.

Paul & Anna Johnson

Society Matters

Texel dedicated Charity 2015 - the Youth Cancer Trust

Director Graham Hill with new Chairman David McKerrow presenting Kirsty Harrison (YCT) with the Texel donation

Society members and friends have raised more than £5225 for the Society’s 2015 charity of the year, the Youth Cancer Trust. The amount has been raised as a result of The Society & regional clubs combined fund raising events held at shows and sales throughout the year and director Graham Hill running four punishing runs through late summer and autumn. Mr Hill ran the Dambusters half marathon in Northern Ireland on 22 August, followed by the 8.7 mile Ben Nevis Fell Run on 5 September and then took on the 17 mile Exmoor Stagger on 18 October before tackling the Snowdonia Marathon on 24 October. Outgoing Society Chairman Henry Gamble said the support of Society members and friends for Mr Hill’s efforts had been tremendous. “I know Graham greatly valued the support of all those who donated and I’d like to thank him for taking on a gruelling and truly impressive challenge in the Society’s name.” The Youth Cancer Trust provides support and free therapeutic activity holidays for 250 teenagers and young adults (aged 14 to 30) with cancer from the UK and Ireland every year, added Mr Gamble. “The YCT helps reduce the sense of isolation often felt by young people with cancer by supporting them through their journey with cancer and I have no doubt the generous support from these fund raising efforts will be greatly appreciated by the charity.”

Farmers Guardian caption competition entrants The winner of the Texel/Farmers Guardian Photo Caption competition was Liz Henderson, Craven Arms with her entry…. With the ‘Sheeply Come Dancing” finals just days away, Bob knew that Jim and Baarbara really needed more coaching if their Lambaada routine was going to win!!



Winter 2015

The Twilight Texel Sale Friday 4th December

At 6.30pm at Borderway Mart, Carlisle Tel: 01228

406 230

In-Lamb Gimmer Sale From the flocks of Courthill, Crailloch, Douganhill, Duncryne, Haddo, Haltcliffe, Hull House Llangwm, Loosebeare, Penparc, Plasucha, Procters, Stainton, Thacka, Welsh


Winter 2015


Society Matters

Society Matters

Love is in the air After “The Phantom” achieved international media coverage over the summer we simply had to update you on some important breaking news as we went to press – he has found a Girlfriend!

Texel Top Tips A new addition to the Society Website this year is the “Texel Top Tips” section. Developed to allow short but important tech and vet updates at the right time of year. Many of these topics are routine in the shepherds calendar. However to help you, many are presented specific to the Texel breed allowing for better application in your own Texel flock. Whilst there are great resources already available in the industry, many topics are general and we felt that many important messages relative to Texel are missed and under reported. We hope to add and refresh these over the coming years using “our experts” to keep you at the forefront of health and technology, to benefit your Texel flock.

Paul Phillips from the Kimbolton Flock who bred The Phantom explained “to my surprise it soon became clear that there were several other sheep born this year with unexpected markings too. Perhaps I’m going soft but after he achieved such celebrity status and cult following we couldn’t just eat him so I wondered if we could find him a lady friend and see what happened. Through social media (not dating apps!) we identified a suitable match based at John Howard’s Quercus Flock in North Yorkshire. Commenting on the developing relationship John said “I couldn’t help but notice the amount of media coverage the Phantom received so as a joke I pinned his picture in my ewe lambs pen, ’Magic’, as she is affectionately known, certainly seemed to like him. Her markings correspond opposite to his. Phantom will shortly be making the 224 mile journey north, where in a year’s time we hope the union of this love story will reach fruition. So the story continues, we wonder what lambing 2017 will bring…

Society Reminder Society Matters

2016 Birth Notifications start with…


Tag your 2016 lambs accurately and supply the Society with the correct animal ID that appears on BOTH tags Bye Law 9.7: The Society requires that all pedigree Texel sheep carry two ear tags, in accordance with current government regulations each clearly identifying the breeder’s unique UK flock number and the Society flock book number allocated to that animal. One of the tags shall be an EID tag and the other a visual tag. Any animal with incorrect or indistinct identification or only carrying one tag will be rejected unless the Society has been notified in advance of the inspection and a dispensation certificate accompanies the animal to the point of inspection. Members are required to use the individual animal ID (the last 5 digits of the EID), as the pedigree identifier of Pedigree Texel notifications and registrations and NOT the flocks own separate management number.


10 Winter 2015

Society Exports

Society Reminder

Largest ever British Texel export heads to Switzerland The largest ever exportation of British Texels to Europe is headed to Switzerland having been selected on farms in Scotland in June this year. A total of 51 Texel shearling ewes and shearling rams will made up the consignment, with stock coming from the Cambwell flock of the Laird family, the Garngour, Clarks and Teiglum flocks of the Clark family, the Culter Allers flock of the McCosh family and the Watchknowe flock of the Warnock family. Commenting on the export Robert Laird of the Cambwell flock said the sale followed on from previous exports to Switzerland last year and in previous years by other flocks and reflected the growing interest in the breed in the country. “The Swiss buyers are very clear in the type of sheep they are looking for. Correct sheep with good carcasses and sharp, alert sheep. Importantly the sheep they buy also have to be either from Scrapie monitored flocks or Scrapie genotype group one. “They are keen on performance figures, only really wanting sheep in the top 10% of the breed.”

Society Matters

British Texel genetics behind New Zealand progeny test success A ram bred from British Texel genetics exported to Western Australia has delivered a stand out performance in New Zealand Beef and Lamb Genetics Central Progeny Test (CPT), ranking third overall of all the rams put through the testing. The ram, Te Rakau 92724, is a son of an embryo transfer bred tup which was exported to Australia as an embryo in 2004. The ET bred tup is fully British bred, being a son of Kirtle Banker out of a Kirtle bred dam, HMK97095, herself a daughter of Netherkeir Blaze out of a dam by Milnbank Yesterday.

Members are advised the most cost effective approach is to DNA sample ET donors on the day of Embryo Transfer and for sires to be sampled on the day of AI for use in ET programmes. Embryo (ET) born lambs will only be birth notified if all Donor ewes and Sires born 2013 onwards have a DNA profile. Do not leave it too late • Simple to use DNA nasal sampling kits are available from the Society office. Tel: 024 7669 6629 • Only samples profiled and invoiced through the Society using our chosen provider “Neogen” will be acceptable. • The cost of each DNA profile/ sample will be charged by the Society at £22.50 + VAT • Previously DNA profiled donors and sires do not need sampling again. Check the Basco database for further information on an individual’s DNA profile status. • If using frozen semen in the ET programme ensure the ram has been DNA profiled. Semen can be tested – contact the office for more information

Te Rakau 92724 ranked third overall in the dual purpose index for meat and growth and performed consistently in almost every category, ranking seventh for growth, third for meat value, eighth for weaning weight, 19th for Worm FEC and 21st for Dag Score, explained his breeders Rob and Maria Wood of Te Rakau Grazing Company.

Society Reminder

“We were delighted when our ram was selected by the New Zealand Texel Breeders as their entry in the Dual Purpose section of the CPT. The ram’s selection was based on his SIL-ACE (Sire Improvement Ltd – Advanced Central Evaluation) ranking of 40 after just two breeding seasons. SIL-ACE is New Zealand’s national across flock and across breed analysis with the CPT data providing critical genetic connections,” said Mr Wood.

If sending correspondence via Royal Mail remember to put Texel Sheep Society on the envelope, many items of post are being taken back to the local depot undelivered due to no company identification name. Texel Sheep Society, N.A.C. Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG

“Without a doubt the British genetics have left an outstanding stamp on all the flocks using them, delivering great growth rates coupled with excellent confirmation and consistency in the progeny.”

Texel office address


Winter 2015


Knock Will I Am - National Sale highest seller 2015 - sold for 70,000gns


National Sale roundup - 2015 Trade at the Society’s GB national sales in August was strong, with demand coming from both pedigree and commercial buyers. The Scottish National Sale, Lanark, the Society’s flagship sale, once again enjoyed a bumper trade from start to finish, with more than 78% of the ram lambs forward finding new homes. This excellent clearance rate, coupled with the average of £2368 for 384 ram lambs sold reflected the outstanding demand shown for the Texel breed as it continues to deliver for commercial sheep farmers across the UK. Hitting the headlines at Lanark was a 70,000gns sale for Knock Will I Am from Albert and George Howie, Mintlaw. This son of the 13,000gns sire Garngour Vintage is out of a dam by Tophill Nockout and carries an index of 280 and sold to Charlie Boden. Two lambs then shared the next best call of 32,000gns, with the first of these being Tophill Wall Street from David Houghton. This son of Procters Ventura is out of a dam by Milnbank Times Square and sold with an index of 302. He was knocked down in a two-way split to Messrs Knox, Haddo, and Brian Buchan, Clinterty, both Aberdeenshire. The other to make this money was Donald and Sarah MacPherson’s sole entry in the sale, Hexel Wildcard, a son of Drumpark Unique out of a dam by the noted Douganhill McFly. He was bought by a team of four breeders; Andrew Neilson, Brackenridge, Richard Wilson, Eden Valley, Peter Woof, Stainton and Spiros Spyrou, Gib Farm. A pair then sold at 24,000gns, with the Knox family recouping some outlay when selling Haddo Wait-A-Minty. He is a son of Cowal Vogue and out of a dam by Strathbogie Smokey Blue. This one was bought by Messrs Teward, Staindrop, Darlington. Second to sell at 24,000gns was Glenside Willie Winkie from John Forsyth’s pen. This son of the 85,000gns Cornmore Velvet Jacket is out of a dam by Mellor Vale The One and carries an index of 258. He sold to Keith, Alan and Roy Campbell, Cowal, Alan Blackwood,

Auldhouseburn, and Messrs Barclay, Harestone. At the Welsh National Sale, Welshpool, also saw a flying demand, achieving an 82% clearance of the ram lambs on offer and reaching a new centre high of 6200gns.Leading the prices was the male champion and reserve overall champion from the pre-sale show, Richard Wilson’s Eden Valley Whizz Kid. This son of the 11,000gns sire Sportsmans Tremendous II is out of a dam by the breed record holding 220,000gns Deveronvale Perfection. Selling with an index of 289 he was bought by Will and Liz McCaffrey for the Scholars flock, Malpas. Second best call of the sale was a 3100gns for Robert Cockburn’s Knap Waverly. This second prize winner is by Tamnamoney Tuborg Gold and out of a Baltier Rascal sired dam. He sold to G W Williams, Llanrwst, Conwy. The English National Sale, Worcester, saw trade hit a high of 10,000gns and averages for both ram lambs and shearling ewes rising on the year, with the shearling ewe average settling at £873.66, nearly £120 up on 2014. Meanwhile, the ram lamb average leveled at £936.76, a rise of £34 on the year.” Taking the sale’s top call of 10,000gns was the reserve male champion from the pre-sale show, Ellen Valley Warlord from George Wilkinson. Sired by Milnbank Vantastic and out of a Teiglum Topper sired dam he sold with an index of 352 and was the choice of Gordon

Gray, Ettrick, Messrs Knox, Haddo, and Stephen Cobbald, Acton. Next best at 5000gns was the first prize winner from the YDP novice flock class in the presale show, Usk Vale War-Lord from Usk Vale Poultry. This son of the 42,000gns Glenside Valhalla is out of a Knock Travis dam which was bred by Alastair Gault and was champion at Balmoral last year before being bought for £15,000. He sold to Paul O’Connor, Drumgooland. Close behind that at 4900gns was Eden Valley Wild West from Richard Wilson. This son of the 2014 sire of the year Oberstown Usain Bolt is out of a dam by Sportsmans Tremendous II and was male champion and reserve overall champion in the pre-sale show. He sold to Robert Evans, Hope Valley. Meanwhile, the Northern Irish National Sale, Ballymena, traded to a high of 3300gns when James and Austin Morgan sold their ram lamb, Drummmillar World Class. This Baltier Thunderbird son is out of a dam by Knock Papoose and sold in half shares to Welsh buyers Edward Oliver, Tregarth, and G W Jones, Gwyddelwern.John Foster then collected 2500gns for his best lamb of the day, Springhill Winning Glory. This Springhill Vegas son is out of a dam by Millcomb Powerhouse and was the pick of S McGuiness, Letterbreen, Co Fermanagh. Next best on the day was 2150gns paid for Innisrush Winnepeg from young breeder Philip Whyte. This Stainton Victor son is out of a dam by Kelso Picasso and sold to Nathan Armstrong, Derryhoney, and Peter Stubbs, Snowhill.


12 Winter 2015


Texel National Sales Highest Priced in 2015

Northern Ireland James and Austin Morgan - Drummillar World Class MIJ1500277 sold at 3,300gns

Scottish Albert & George Howie - Knock Will I Am - HAK1500870 sold at 70,000gns

Welsh Richard Wilson - Eden Valley Wiz Kid - WEV1500437- sold at 6,200gns

English George Wilkinson - Ellen Valley Warlord - YGW1502181 - sold at 10,000gns

Scottish National live streaming & large display screen proves popular with breeders The Scottish National Sale attracted a blockbuster crowd as usual, with standing room only for much of the 8 hour sale day. However, even those who could not make it to Lanark on the day stayed in touch with proceedings, with this year’s live streaming of the sale proving to be hugely popular once again. And it wasn’t just UK breeders and enthusiasts taking an interest in proceedings with significant numbers of viewers from Ireland, France, Saudi Arabia and Italy and bizarrely even interest from as far afield as Ethiopia. “By 3pm on the day of the sale some 58,812 viewer minutes had been used up by a total of 7334 individual streams. “

It goes to show the interest and enthusiasm for the Texel breed both here in the UK and across Europe and beyond and the live streaming, allied with our social media coverage, has now become an integral part of the Scottish National Sale experience for many breeders. We also introduced a large screen in 2014 showing the streaming in the market foyer, with this also well received by those at the sale enabling breeders to keep up with proceedings whilst taking refreshments without being in the ring during the marathon sale.


Winter 2015




Strong demand for registered Texels at Kelso & Builth commercial ram sales The two largest ram sales in Europe, Kelso Ram Sales and the NSA Main Sale at Builth Wells, saw strong demand for “Registered Texel” rams. At both Kelso and Builth “one in four” of every ram sold was a Registered Texel shearling or ram lamb, with strong clearance rates at both sales. Indeed at Builth 89% of the shearling rams offered found a buyer. At Kelso a total of 875 registered shearlings sold to average £766.94, while at Builth 713 shearlings were traded to level at £612.39. Buyers at both sales were clearly prepared to pay a premium for the confidence and quality assurance offered by registered rams. The figures from both sales proved the dominance of the breed in commercial sheep production in the UK and bore testament to the value pedigree registration offered breeders. Throughout this summer we have seen Texel sired lambs earning premiums of more than 20p/kg across the UK and it is this which continues to drive commercial buyers to seek out quality Texel rams to breed their next lamb crop. Importantly in a difficult year for the sheep sector buyers were once again willing to pay premiums for Registered Texel shearlings compared to non-registered rams. This shows the confidence pedigree breeding gives to buyers when they are looking for an assurance of quality. It also backs the Society’s long-term investment plans in delivering valuable commercially relevant breeding information to both breeders and buyers. At Kelso registered shearlings earned a premium of more than £250 compared to unregistered shearlings, while at Builth buyers paid more than £120 a head more for registered shearlings. Kelso Ram Sale


Total sold (reg and non-reg, shearlings and lambs)

Sales value £

% of total sale value

Ave price £


























Registered Texel Shearlings





Unregistered Texel Shearlings





Garngour Vintage is Sire of the Year This year’s First Year Sire of the Year is Garngour Vintage, bred by the Clark family, purchased by Albert and George Howie, Knock, in conjunction with the Knox family, Haddo, and Sandy Lee, Fordafourie, at Lanark last year. His three high selling sons at National Sales in 2015 were Knock Will-I-am from the Howie’s which sold for 70,000gns at Lanark to Charlie Boden, Fordafourie Welcome which sold at 1500gns at Lanark and Haddo Winner from the Knox family which made 500gns, again at Lanark. This left Garngour Vintage, who carries an index of 307, with an overall average for his three highest selling sons from individual dams of 24,000gns. Taking second place was Cornmore Velvet Jacket bred by John Leitch and sold for 85,000gns at Lanark last year. And third spot this year went to Procters Ventura. Bred by Procters Farm Limited and purchased for 4000gns in 2014 by David Houghton for the Tophill flock in partnership with Charlie Boden.

Main NSA Ram Sale, Builth Wells


Total sold (reg and non-reg, shearlings and lambs)

Sales value £

% of total sale value

Ave price £


























Registered Texel Shearlings





Unregistered Texel Shearlings





Henry Gamble presenting Alan Clark - Garngour - with the Sire of the Year 2015 trophy


14 Winter 2015

Dwynant Feeds DEREK JEWELL

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Milk Maker 18

A very high protein feed bucket suited to mid to late pregnancy. High in B Vitamins and Vitamin E, which are often lacking at this stage of pregnancy. Contains fish oils, Soya and protected fat to help with milk production, colostrum quality and foetal growth.


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Tel: 07904 657 297 Winter 2015


Quality the watchword at


Welsh Texels

aving bred Texels for more than 25 years the Evans family’s Welsh prefix is well known in South Wales, but in the last few years it has quickly become recognised further afield, thanks to the determination shown by Tomos Evans to progress the flock. “When my mother and father started with Texels in 1989 it was with some ewes from Stephen Williams Wollascott flock. Those sheep did a great job for us, building a solid foundation from which to breed great commercial rams and females which bred well year after year. “Then in 1996 I started to get a bit more interested in the sheep and my parents allowed me to buy a ewe lamb from the Llyfni flock that I spotted at the Royal Welsh Show. She was by Kirtle Boxer and out of a dam by Cambwell Yellowstone. That was the start of the journey for me and spurred an interest in breeding a sharper, more breeders type of sheep.” Following that, as ewe numbers grew the family staged an onfarm production sale in 1999 and sold 80 of the older ewes. “Then in 2000 we bought a Curig ewe lamb by Cambwell Emperor and in 2001 we used AI for the first time as we were unable to buy rams due to foot-and-mouth restrictions.’’ “We used North Quarter Deluxe on everything that year and he had a great influence on the female lines. In 2002 we took the plunge and showed at the Royal Welsh Show for the first time. “I took a ewe lamb which stood seventh. I was delighted with that result and it really spurred me on to continue breeding the type of sheep we were.” The following year Tom bought a Claybury ewe and for the first time in 2004 undertook some embryo transfer work, flushing

the Claybury ewe, DHL00007. “Those few years in the early part of the 2000s were really the beginning of a new era for the flock which has got us to where we are today. “In 2005 we went to the Irish National sale at Blessington and bought Shannagh Lincoln, a Craighead Hercules son out of a Glenside Gurka daughter. We were pleased with his progeny and we were continuing to move the flock forwards.” But it’s not just the rams that have had an influence and Tom is keen to secure additional female lines when the opportunity arises. “I’m always open to buying in new females when I believe they can add something to the flock. In many ways buying fresh females can have a bigger impact on a flock than buying rams and with the use of AI it is relatively easy to access good quality rams. “In some cases you may have to wait a year to use AI, but that gives you a chance to see how they’re breeding, so it’s not always a bad thing. As a result we haven’t, historically, spent a lot on rams, preferring to invest in good females when they become available.” One ram which was bought and proved highly successful was Cambwell Napolian, a ram bought in 2007 at the lock-down sale at Lanark. “He was a Cambwell Laird son and left a real mark on his females, they were the next generation to improve the flock still further.” The family then staged another sale in 2010, selling 100 females to help bring numbers back to a more manageable level. The Welsh flock currently runs with around 50 ewes with 5-6 selected annually for embryo transfer.


16 Winter 2015

“With the success of embryo transfer we were getting to the stage where we had too many ewes for our acreage. I also like to offer groups of proven females every so often to give people a chance to buy quality breeding ewes. “Young people like me can’t always afford to buy the best gimmers at Society sales or in-lamb sales. It has been a good way for me to secure better bloodlines and I like to help others where I can.” Other females to join the flock have been ewes from the Procters flock and a Greenwood ewe by Swaites O’Sullivan bought at Chelford as well as select ewes from flocks such as Glenside and Cornerstone. “The Greenwood ewe, I liked from the moment I saw her at Chelford. She just had something about her. We lambed her naturally the first year and then flushed her after that to Mossknowe Pudsey. “That was one of the best crops of ewe lambs we’ve ever had and included a ewe lamb sold to David Bradley Farmer and the shearling ewe which was female and reserve overall champion at the English National Sale in 2014 and sold to Charlie Boden for 7000gns.” Without a doubt 2014 was the year the Welsh flock came of age, with a host of successes at both shows and sales, including winning the South Wales Club progeny show with a pair of Teiglum Tornado lambs as well as winning the Dyfed Club flock competition and winning the show at the early NSA sale with a shearling ewe by Cairness Ranger. “We also topped the South Wales Club Sale with a ram lamb, Welsh VavaVoom, at 900gns and won the Dyfed Club in-lamb sale with an aged ewe by Rascarrel Peppermint which then sold for 1000gns. We also topped the sale at 1150gns with a maternal sister to the 7000gns gimmer. “To top it off we were champion at the South Wales Club inlamb sale with a Cairness Ranger gimmer which sold for 900gns. It was a remarkable year, but gave me the confidence that we were heading in the right direction.”

However, while selling females to breeders is a mark of how far the flock has progressed in recent years Tom is clear about where the bread and butter of the flock’s income is.

“We have to keep a focus on our commercial ram lamb buyers. We sell all our rams as lambs and they have to be the type of sheep our commercial customers want. More importantly, they have to produce the type of lamb that processors and retailers are looking for. “We sell about 35-40 ram lambs a year and I’m always conscious when looking at rams that we need that early growth and shape to produce quick growing well bodied prime lambs. Increasingly our commercial customers are looking for figures too, so we have to bear that in mind when looking for rams.” Tom says that he also wants sheep with that bit of breed character to draw in potential new buyers. “They’ve got to be bit sparky, the last thing I want in our pen anywhere is a dull sheep. That said we never look to buy a ram as a complete package, it’s always about adding in the next bit to the flock, be that body, character or skins.You never get the sheep you want in one package, so we have to add the extras when we see them.” With the flock now firmly based on proven female lines Tom says the time may have come to invest more in a ram, but it will have to be right sheep to add something to the flock, he adds. When it comes to selling the family are careful, only taking sheep to major sales when they believe they have something suitable. “We’ve only ever taken one sheep to Lanark, Welsh Unique, which sold for 1000gns and I don’t want to take another unless I know it will be worthwhile. We can sell ram lambs well enough here without adding extra costs to sales. “Local buyers at the NSA Main Sale at Builth Wells and the South Wales Club Sale are the bread and butter for us.” “I’d like to sell the odd ram or two for better money in due course and continue to drive the flock forward for the benefit of our customers.” Lifestyle

Winter 2015


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18 Winter 2015

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Winter 2015


James Robinson - Kaker Mill

Q&A Name: James Robinson (known as Jam) Age: 30 Flock prefix: Kaker Mill

How long have you been involved in the Texel breed and what first got you started?

In your opinion, how important is the Texel breed in today’s sheep industry?

I first got involved in Texels back in 2006 when I went out and bought three two-crop ewes that were really just commercial value. I took them home and they all got tupped in that week and then later they all lambed twins – three tup lambs and three ewe lambs – with ease, so I thought this was a sign of a good start. Needless to say it’s not been as plain sailing as that since! I have a good friend who farms Texels and it was really his influence that got me into the breed.

I would say that the Texel breed plays a big part in today’s sheep industry, with a large amount of commercial sheep farmers using the Texel sire in their flocks to produce a lamb that gets to prime weight for slaughter as quick as possible. Also, many farmers are using the Texel sire on Mule ewes and keeping back that first cross ewe lambs as replacement females for their flock, to get that little bit smarter type of lamb that the buyers want. A big advantage of Texel primestock is that it can be finished on grass and at a range of weights – light or heavy, depending on what the market requires at certain times and seasonality.

Why Texel? Because out of any other breeds, it was only the Texels that really caught my eye on a personal level. They can be good, big, correct carcass sheep and with the right breeding in there, very flashy and stylish too! I like nothing better than to look over a field of good, correct Texels. Best part about being a member of the Texel Society? There and many good things that come from being a member of the Texel Society. Having been a member for only a few years, I to have to say that one of the best things is all the good friendships I’ve made. I’ve come to know a lot of good people and built some strong friendships with fellow breeders through sales, shows, social events and flock visits and so on. Does the Society do enough to encourage young/ new breeders? If not, what would you suggest? Yes, I think they do, especially now with the introduction of the YDP. This year’s Young Breeder Five Nations competition weekend in Ireland just showed how strong and enthusiastic the young breeders are. And with such a strong group of young breeders, I think it’s important that the Society continues to support sales and shows and social weekends for young breeders to be a part of.

What’s your most memorable achievement within your own flock to-date? It has to be at the Scottish National premier sale at Lanark this year, the first time I’ve ever brought sheep to Lanark. I managed to gain third prize in the gimmer class and later sold her for 7000gns and then took third prize in the YDP novice flock ram lamb class with Kaker Mill Warrior, selling him for 5000gns.   What would you like to achieve in the future? In the future I’d like to have a good go at maybe winning a major show, such as the Highland or the Yorkshire. When I started out in Texels, I set a couple of goals. One was to sell something at Lanark and the other was to sell a tup lamb at 10,000gns. So future achievements would be to get as close to 10k as possible – I’m delighted to be half way there at 5k already!  If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you still choose to breed Texel sheep? Yes, I dare say I would still keep Texels. I’m sure most if not all breeders would agree with me that we don’t just breed Texels for the money!!

Youth Focus

20 Winter 2015

George Wilkinson - Arkle & Ellenvalley f locks

Q&A Name: George Wilkinson Age: 32 Flock prefix: Arkle & Ellenvalley flocks

How long have you been involved in the Texel breed and what first got you involved?

In your opinion, how important is the Texel breed in today’s sheep industry?

I have been involved in Texels through my parents from a young age, and helped them show at local shows at weekends as soon as I was old enough.

I think the Texel is important in the end product and for breeding replacements in the commercial flock, as it has the ability to finish fast on grass and grows quickly off grass without getting too fat. On the mothering side, they make great mothers, with plenty of milk, and they have strong lambs with the get up and go factor.

Why Texel? Because Texels are the best!! Best part about being a member of the Texel Society? I really enjoy the social side of it; getting together with likeminded people and having good craic – mainly talking about Texels! Does the Society do enough to encourage young/ new breeders? If not, what would you suggest? Yes I think they do enough, especially over the last couple years with the Youth Development Programme. However, one thing I would suggest is a young handler class for under 18s at the Society sales, to encourage them to show and learn about Texels - maybe get the judge to ask questions and the winner could receive a voucher to go towards buying gimmers at the sales?

What’s your most memorable achievement within your own flock to-date? With the Arkle flock, the most memorable moment was getting 27,000gns in 2004, after just starting back up in Texels following the foot-and-mouth outbreak, and also getting first prize at the Great Yorkshire show with a gimmer lamb and a tup lamb in the same year (2010). In the Ellenvalley flock, the best moment so far has been this year at Worcester, achieving the sale’s top price of 10,000gns with Ellenvalley Warlord. What would you like to achieve in the future? In the years ahead, I’d like to win Lanark, get the top price at Lanark, and also win the Great Yorkshire Show! If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you still choose to breed Texel sheep? Definitely – I’d choose Texel every time to spend the Lottery money. If I won, some of it would go towards buying the top lamb at Lanark!!

Youth Focus

Winter 2015


Young Handlers class winners at Royal Shows 2015 The next generation of Texel breeders have been busy displaying their handling prowess over the summer months, with young handler’s classes staged by the Society and clubs. Winning at the Royal Welsh was Lucy Price with a Scholars Texel, while at Balmoral the winners were Liam Donohoe and James Herdman. Meanwhile, at the Royal Highland, Robbie Aiken, son of well known Texel faces Jeff and Jennifer Aiken won first place in the show’s young handler’s class across all breeds. If you have any ideas to develop our YDP programme get in touch with your regional YDP Committee Member.


Royal Welsh Show Texel YDP Young Handlers Class 1st Place - Lucy Price


Area A - Kerr Jarvie - MBX - 01764 681 589 or 07736 299632 - Committee term - 2014 - 2019

Royal Ulster Show NITYB Young Handlers Class 1st place - Junior Liam Donohoe & Senior Class James Herdman

Area B - Duncan Mellin - MJH - 01729 850 220 Committee term 2013 - 2017 Area C - David Bradley-Farmer - FTD - 01730 823 003 or 07732 993085 - Committee term 2013 - 2016 Area D - Anna Minnice-Hughes - SJP - 01938 850 265 or 07979 381285 - Committee term 2013 2018 Area E - Adrian Liggett Chairman - LIG - 02882 841 691 or 07766 146624 - Committee term 2015 - 2020 Royal Highland Show Overall Young Handler Champion - Robbie Aiken Youth Focus

22 Winter 2015

Texel Sheep Society Educational Awards

Novice Flock/Ram Lamb Class winners 2015

The Texel Sheep Society Educational Awards for 2015 were awarded to the student’s who attained the highest mark on a sheep production related Honours Research Project. The awards of £250 are offered to four University graduates representing Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. This year’s recipients are… CAFRE, Greenmount College - Niamh Wood SRUC - Daniel Stout University of Wales, Aberystwyth - James A Broom Harper-Adams - J L Parry

Texel Sponsor Young Breeders at the SBRT

Northern Ireland National, NITYB - Adrian Ligget - Corbo Wagon Wheel

Bolstering its already significant support for young sheep farmers the Texel Sheep Society, in conjunction with regional Texel clubs, is this year sponsoring young breeders from across the country to attend this year’s Sheep Breeders Round Table conference in November. The young farmers benefitting from Texel Society sponsorship which has been match funded by their regional clubs are, Molly Hobbs from the Elkstone flock, Gloucestershire, Robert Evans from the Hope Valley flock, Shropshire, Phil Loveland from the Greylands flock, Kent, and Charlotte Watkins from the Millend flock, Herefordshire. Anna Minnice-Hughes of the Penparc flock, Welshpool, is attending as the Society’s YDP representative.

Scottish National - Richard Reynolds - Killyvolgan Whizz Kid

Tribute to Charlotte Former President of the Suffolk Agricultural Association and former Chairman of the Eastern Texel Breeders Club, Stephen Cobbald, launched The Young Farmers’ Club Stockperson’s Competition this year in memory of his daughter Charlotte Cobbald whose life was cut tragically short last summer after only 17 years. “It is the kind of competition that Charlotte herself would have loved to have entered and combines all her passions,” said Mr Cobbald.

Welsh National - Will Davies - Usk Vale Wondewall

National Young Stars event Malvern Ben, who works alongside his father Martin managing the family’s 1000-ewe Texel cross ewes, was sponsored in the competition by the Texel Sheep Society and runs an on-farm butchery operation where he puts through 40 lambs a month for boxed lamb, Farmers Markets and restaurant clients. Commenting on the judging procedure, judge Michael Alford said he was particularly impressed with the quality of the butchers in the competitions, but on the day it was the quality of Ben’s display that set him apart as a winner.”

English National - Will Davies - Usk Vale War-Lord

Youth Focus

Winter 2015


Performance Recording Embryo Transfer lambs in the Texel breed by ‘your expert’ Samuel Boon, BSc, MSc, Nuff Sch. Manager of Signet Breeding Services The use of embryo transfer (ET) is a widely used reproductive technology in the Texel breed. The breeding evaluations delivered by Signet are built to take ET procedures into account and rely on breeders supplying the right information about their ET lambs, donors and recipients. This is no different to breeders supplying information on management groups, although in the case of ET lambs the Society checks the numbers of lambs notified each year for each Pedigree donor ewe. The Society actively monitors the number of ET birth notifications received from each member as well as monitoring flock prolificacy for lambs born naturally. The analysis of ET lambs has to do several things: •

Correctly credit the ewe that provided the genes being expressed by the lamb (i.e. the ET donor ewe)

Acknowledge that the lamb was reared by another ewe and hence some of its performance needs to be credited to the milking ability of the recipient ewe

Finally it is recognised that the ET programme itself can influence performance – for example the drugs used to stimulate ovulation rate will influence prolificacy. This can be taken into account through accurate recording and assigning sheep into different management groups where appropriate.

Signet’s analyses already have to tease out the degree to which the lamb’s weight at 8 weeks of age is due to genes from its sire, genes from its dam, its dam’s milking ability and the environment. In the case of ET lambs this calculation has to go one step further in recognising that the genetic dam and rearing dam are two different animals. Another important reason for correctly recording recipient dam is that it enables Signet to correctly identify whether a lamb was reared as a single or twin. {If an ET lamb is entered onto the database with an unknown recipient dam they are analysed assuming they were reared as a single}. Accurate recording of the recipient dam also enables the analysis to take into account factors such as her breed and age. The allocation of recipient ewe is now mandatory when birth notifying ET lambs to the Texel Sheep Society. Whilst this

does increase the time taken to record the data on BASCO, it is essential and recommended to input ET lamb data well before deadlines. When recording through BASCO a common numbering policy is used for recipient ewes – which is to use the UK ministry Number. Members should be aware of this as recipient ewes are now frequently appearing on printouts. Preventing bias For some traits the information provided by ET lambs can’t be used when evaluating the lamb or its relatives. A classic example would be the lambs birth type; single, twin or triplet. The number of lambs born in an ET programme is largely influenced by the ET technician – so this data has no value in assessing the genes that influence prolificacy (and thus the Litter Size EBV). In a similar way, the weight gain of the ET lamb should not influence its mothers Maternal Ability EBV (genes of milk production), as she did not rear it. Handling recipient information For the purposes of the analysis – the fact that a lamb is reared by a recipient ewe is simply one more environmental influence (referred to as a “fixed effect”) on the lambs performance. As with every other environmental influence (flock, season, management group) this is taken into account when trying to assess a lambs true genetic merit. As a result, ET lambs are not directly compared to non-ET lambs. Preferential management Although the breeding analysis can “handle” ET effects, breeders sometimes comment that their recipient lambs have unwittingly had “an advantage”. For example – ET lambs might have born as a tight group, a month earlier and got less of a health/nutritional check than that suffered by later born lambs. As with any external management influence – the best thing to do in this scenario is allocate lambs to different management groups – at both the submission of 8 week weights and at scanning time. This means that the flock records are split to ensure that only lambs managed under similar conditions are compared. This is one further way to alleviate any potential source of bias. Summary • Breeding evaluations take into account the influence of Embryo Transfer (ET) • Pedigree breeders must correctly record recipient ewe details. Within the Texel Society the recording of this information is mandatory. • The birth type of an ET lamb will not influence its mothers Litter Size EBV, as the number of lambs produced by the recipient was largely due to the AI technician. • The weight of an ET lamb will not influence its mothers Maternal Ability EBV (genes of milk production), as she did not rear it. • It is mandatory to provide the Society with DNA samples for Sires and Dams used in Embryo transfer programmes.

Technical Corner

24 Winter 2015

TEXEL “Meat Matters” TOP TIPS

by ‘your expert’ Dr. Catherine Nakielny Independent Sheep Breeding Consultant

What does the market require? Taking pride in the health, welfare and presentation of animals is a good thing. Combined with protecting the environment through sustainable management practices this forms the basis of the message that needs to go out to consumers that lamb is a healthy and safe product.

There are already good arguments for carefully considering how breeding decisions can impact upon the meat cuts which are purchased by the consumer. Looking to the future (which a good breeding programme should always do) there are also possibilities that the system of grading lambs will move away from the EUROP classification grid.

However, market research shows that cost of a cut of meat is also an important driver of buying decisions. It’s not just the cost per kg that consumer looks for, but the total cost of the pack. This is, in part, the reason why most lambs need to fall into the carcass weight bracket of 16 – 21kg to hit the requirements of the major markets. If the price per pack is higher, even at the same price per kg then a consumer can often be put off making the purchase.

The EUROP grid is increasingly considered to be an outdated method for the grading of a lamb carcass which fails to recognise the relative value of the different parts of the animal. The question each breeder needs to ask themselves is whether their genetics are being ‘future-proofed’.

So what does this mean for ram breeders? Lambs need to reach the required finish without going over the 21kg carcass weight. The quicker the offspring of individual rams reach their target weight the more profitable the system can be. Optimising levels of fat coverage is also important. With visual assessment alone unable to fully assess carcass traits the role of ultrasonic scanning of the loin and even CT scanning is becoming increasingly important in any breeding programme.

If lambs are paid for on the basis of meat yield or even individual cuts, will the rams being bred fully meet those new requirements? For now, ram breeders can best address the changing market requirements by including ultrasonic scanning for muscle and fat depth into their selection decisions. Flocks that have been making progress in this area for a number of years and which ideally are also CT scanning a proportion of their lambs, provide the most objective measure for selecting new stock sires.

Technical Corner

Winter 2015


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

SHROPSHIRE & BORDERS CLUB Evening Sale of In-Lamb Females

on Thursday 17th December 2015 at Welshpool Market Call Welshpool Livestock Sales

on 01938 553 438

26 Winter 2015


Friday 18th December 6.30pm Hilltown Livestock Mart, BT34 5YN Tel: 028406 30287 Main service sires Milnbank Womaniser - Strathbogie Wanted Milnbank Whiplash- Holylee Volcano Hull House Wing Commander Five consignors: Blackstown • Braehead • Mullan Springwell • Tullagh

Springwell gimmer sold for 7,500gns GRS1401520 at Lanark 2015

with guest consignor: Glenhone Approx. 80 females

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

Saturday 5th December 2015 at Worcester Market

Tel: McCartneys on

01905 769770

Winter 2015



Reducing the use of Antibiotics The pressure to reduce antibiotic use in farming will only increase and the sheep industry has to be ready to farm without reliance on antibiotics at some point in the future.


roundbreaking work being undertaken by the Texel Sheep Society on the genetics behind mastitis and footrot in sheep will provide crucial support for the industry as it drives to reduce its reliance on antibiotics in future. The Society’s landmark genomic research project, which is being undertaken in conjunction with SRUC, is aiming to identify the genetic variations responsible for resistance to both these key economic diseases. The economic and welfare impacts of both these diseases cannot be overstated, with estimates suggesting each case of footrot costing more than £8/ewe, with further lost productivity costs amounting to up to £3/ewe. Additionally, it is believed that the industry loses 7-12% of breeding ewes a year due to intramammary infections.” Both of these conditions can also cause significant welfare issue for affected sheep, something every farmer wants to avoid. Crucially, most current treatment regimes for both footrot and mastitis rely heavily on antibiotics to eliminate infections. But with continuing pressure on farming to reduce its reliance on antibiotics in light of fears of antibiotic resistance the industry has to look at other control strategies. As with all diseases prevention is far better than cure, but due to the environmentally infective nature of both these diseases, prevention can be difficult, particularly in the case of mastitis, he said. Using genomics, and furthering pioneering research work undertaken in footrot by the Society and SAC nearly a decade ago, we aim to introduce genomic breeding values (GBVs) for both conditions to help both Texel breeders and the wider sheep industry by breeding sheep with inherent resistance to both mastitis and footrot. SRUC geneticist Joanne Conington says research done by the Texel Sheep Society and SRUC between 2005 and 2008 identified a number of gene variants responsible for resistance to footrot. “We know there is a genetic basis to footrot, with a heritability

Simple DNA nasal swab is used to collect DNA samples

Technical Corner

28 Winter 2015

Society project drives collection of Data & DNA across its cluster of performance recorded flocks

of 20% and we also know how it is linked to a number of traits of economic importance. The challenge now is to expand our knowledge of the link between resistance to footrot with that for mastitis and their interactions with other traits to develop a genomic breeding value for the breed,” she explained.

breeding programmes leads to a win-win situation for both better welfare as well higher economic return. This is as a result of having sheep more resistant to the disease, as well as lower contamination levels on the farm as a source of infection.”

“Collecting phenotypes across genetically well-connected flocks to fuel these genomic evaluations will enhance the accuracy of genomic breeding values,” she added.

“The pressure to reduce antibiotic use in farming will only increase and the sheep industry has to be ready to farm without reliance on antibiotics at some point in future. Already in New Zealand animals are being screened for antibiotic residues prior to slaughter, so the pressure is increasing on a worldwide level,” said Dr Conington.

“Combining footrot and mastitis makes the Texel Society work unique and pioneering at an international level.” Dr Conington recently published a study based on records collected in the Society’s previous footrot research, which showed there are many gene variants linked to footrot susceptibility, with no big ‘major genes’ playing a pivotal role.

By developing GBVs within the Texel breed, it is hoped that farmers will be able to breed stock with greater genetic resistance to both footrot and mastitis and deliver a triplefold benefit across the industry.

“This is different to, for example scrapie resistance, and means that, for footrot, the use of genomic selection, where footrot records are combined with whole-genome data is likely to be the most effective method to breed sheep that have more resistant to the disease.”

Breeding stock with greater resistance to these key diseases will improve animal welfare, boost farmer returns and reduce reliance on antibiotics, cutting the chances of antibiotic resistance developing.

As the UK sheep industry is heavily reliant on purchased breeding stock, most commercial farmers depend on sheep breeders undertaking genetic improvement on their behalf, she added. “The inclusion of ‘breeding for resistance’ into

This is a major benefit to everyone involved in the UK sheep industry and once again the Texel Sheep Society is putting itself at the forefront of supporting industry and developing the breed to the benefit of commercial producers. Technical Corner

Winter 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 2016

2016 Male and Female Birth Notifications 1st Jan - 15th April in Year of Birth

16th April - 31st May in Year of Birth

1st June - 31st Dec in Year of Birth















(£2.16 Inc VAT)

(£2.44 Inc VAT)

(£2.40 Inc VAT)

(£2.70 Inc VAT)

(£12.00 Inc VAT)

(£13.50 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)

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











(£6.30 Inc VAT)

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

Tel/Paper £29.60

(£35.52 Inc VAT)

(£7.09 Inc VAT)

(£6.84 Inc VAT)

(£7.69 Inc VAT)

Transfers (only fully registered sheep can be transferred)

1st November year following YOB onwards

Online £8.50

(£10.20 Inc VAT)

Tel/Paper £9.56

(£11.47 Inc VAT)

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





(£13.54 Inc VAT)

Adult Joining Fee - £60.00 (Inc VAT) Payable now Annual Subscription fee - £54.21 (Inc VAT) Payable now Junior (up to age 21) Joining Fee - Free Annual Subscription fee - £27.11 (inc VAT) Payable now Paper entries are 12.5% more costly than submitting online. Consider using our online system (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”.

30 Winter 2015

Winter 2015


In touch with Texel




#addtexeladdvalue | 02476 696629 British Texel Sheep Society, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6629 Fax: 024 7669 6472 Email:

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