Texel breeders look ahead in year of celebration

British Texel breeders are gearing up for a year of celebration as the British Texel Sheep Society marks its 40th anniversary in 2014.


In this its Ruby anniversary year the Society has a number of unique and exciting events planned to help breeders both young and old celebrate the occasion. Activities culminate in the annual AGM and Social Weekend which is being held near Chester from 7 to 9 November.

Central to the 40th anniversary celebrations is a renewed focus on the future and with it the younger generation in the sheep industry, with the Society's Youth Development Programme gathering pace throughout the year and being at the centre of a number of events, including the Society's sponsorship of the Sheep Event at Malvern and the Royal Welsh Show in July, explains Society Chief Executive John Yates. "As a breed and a Society the Texel has come a long way in the last 40 years, having grown to become the dominant sire in the UK with 29% of all sires used in the UK being Texel sires. Texel breeders have worked hard over the last 40 years to cooperate, both together and with their commercial customers, to ensure the breed meets the demands of the market and the breed's rise to its current position is a mark of the dedication shown by breeders."

But, says Mr Yates, Texel breeders have never been known to rest on their laurels and the breed continues to adapt and evolve to suit the ever changing requirements of the industry. "In this the Society's 40th year breeders are placing even greater emphasis on improving performance, utilising DNA technology and understanding the changing market. As part of this the Society has organised three overseas tours for members, to Switzerland, New Zealand and to the largest livestock event in Europe, Eurotier, in Germany in November, to allow breeders to appreciate the challenges faced by sheep and livestock producers in Europe and on the other side of the globe.”

"While these tours will be primarily social events there will be many opportunities for breeders to meet with other Texel Breeders, and experience different see Texel sheep production systems in both countries and I don't doubt many will return home enthused with ideas to further develop the Texel breed in the UK."

As in the UK the Texel breeds is the most numerous purebred terminal sire breed in New Zealand, accounting for 30% of purebred terminal sires in a recent survey conducted by Massey and Lincoln Universities. "The Texel influence on New Zealand sheep production is further extended when looking at maternal breeds, with 42% of all composite maternal breeds in New Zealand containing Texel genetics. According to the survey 40% of New Zealand flocks are based on composite breeds, demonstrating the far reaching influence of Texels in leading sheep producing nations on both sides of the globe. The British Texel has been renowned for its “breed improver” ability for some time, with UK composites now also predominantly founded on Texel," adds Mr Yates.

Closer to home members across the UK will have the chance to gather and celebrate and socialise at various points in the year and the Society's variety of regional receptions at a number of leading shows will provide the focal point for many. Receptions are being held at the Balmoral, Devon County, Royal Highland, Great Yorkshire and Royal Welsh shows. Further celebratory events will take place at each of the four National Sales in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, with anniversary medals presented to class winners at each of these events.

“And while this year will focus on celebrating the achievements of the last 40 years in the Texel breed there is no doubt the Society and our members are already making plans to continue the breed's dominance well in to the next 40 years” Mr Yates said.

Texel Society looks forward to NSA Sheep 2014 as it focus on the industry’s future

The Texel Society welcomes producers and breeders alike to join them in their promotion and 40th Anniversary celebration of the breed at NSA Sheep Event to be held on Wednesday 30 July 2014 at The Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire.

‘Securing the future of the UK sheep industry’ is the overarching focus for the National Sheep Association’s leading technical event. “This year NSA have chosen to focus on developing and securing a future for our industry,” explains Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive. “We will be promoting our NSA Next Generation project and our Young Shepherd of the Year competition as a way to show the opportunities the sheep industry can offer to young people as a source of vibrant career opportunities.”


Photo: The busy Texel stand at the previous NSA Sheep

John Yates, Chief Executive of Texel Society, praised the NSA organisation committee for the continued improvement and success of this flagship industry event..

Free technical seminars will be held throughout the day, where industry experts will inform the seminar audiences of the most up-to-date information and news on the hot topics being covered.

Meanwhile, British Texel Genetics Shine at Paris Show

A trio of Texel shearling ewes by British sires collected top awards at the Salon International De L'Agriculture, or Paris Show as it is better known in the UK held recently.

The three shearling (yearling) ewes were sired by two leading high-index different UK sires, Knock Papoose (index 246) and Alwent Shogun (index 284). As well as the success of the shearling ewes, rams sired by UK sires were also successful at Paris, two picking up a first prizes.

Photo: British Texel sired shearling ewes took the top three places at the Paris Show for the Perry family and Mr Leveque

Commenting on the success, Society Chief Executive John Yates said it was pleasing to see British Texel genetics performing well overseas. "It is now some 40 years since the first British Texel breeders started the Society with French Texel genetics, so to see British Texels now coming out on top at such a high profile event as Paris Show is great news. “We have worked closely with a number of French breeders in recent years, including hosting them at the Scottish Premier Sale a number of times and helping them source genetics and breeding stock."

As well as the success of the shearling ewes, rams sired by UK sires were also successful at Paris, two picking up a first prizes.

2 May 2014