sires: The Texel lamb-ram line-up with sheep from left to
right 1st, TA & R Laird, 2nd, RM & EA Payne, 3rd,
J Goldie, 4th, J Goldie.
The Texel Sire Reference Scheme's first annual selection
after a two-year break attracted 50 sheep from 16 different flocks
across the UK.
Defra regulations meant the selection was not able
to take place at its usual venue, Chelford, which made the support
from breeders countrywide even more pleasing - there were more
than 50 in attendance to see the selection at Borderway Mart, Carlisle.
"I was delighted with the quality of the rams
put forward," said Elite Texel Sires (UK) chairman, Chris
Lewis from Ingworth, Norwich. "What is also pleasing is the
uptake of rams from the scheme by commercial breeders who are now
consistently looking at figures and there has been a big increase
in the sales of these rams on that basis," he added.
In the 11 years since it began, the Texel Sire
Reference Scheme has made a huge impact on breed improvement. The
average Texel Sire Reference Scheme lamb recorded within the scheme
in 2003 has the breeding potential to weigh 5.8kg more at 21 weeks
of age, with 1.8mm deeper muscle depth across the loin, than the
average lamb recorded in 1992 when it first began.
"Across a population numbering over 7,000
lambs this will have a huge impact upon the breed," said Sam
Boon, manager of Signet Breeding Services. "The breeding index
is constructed to identify rams with the breeding potential for
growth and muscling to produce progeny with superior yields of
lean meat in their carcases," he added.
The MLC's Signet Breeding Services oversaw selections
of both Texel shearling and ram lambs presented by breeders from
across the UK at the annual Sire Reference Day in Carlisle. All
eight of the selected rams are in the top 10 per cent of the scheme,
in fact three of them are in the top 1 per cent of the scheme.
The widespread dissemination of these genetics into the scheme
through the use of AI will have a tremendous impact on both the
scheme and latterly the breed as a whole.
This year for the first time MLC's Signet Breeding
Services has produced an EBV to assess hind gigot muscularity for
animals recorded within the SRS. This EBV enables breeders to identify
animals with superior shape and bigger hindquarters.
Breeders have been quick to capitalise on this measurement
and one of the lambs selected, PRH:03014, bred by RM and EA Payne,
of Carr Head Farm, Underbank, Stocksbridge, Sheffield, has extremely
high muscularity, which will be of major interest to breeders interested
in the trait.
1, Mrs G Brownsett, Blaencronafon, Dolgran, Pencader, Carmarthenshire
(Identity: BTG:02059), scan weight EBV 11.97; muscle depth EBV 5.2;
2, Drayton Farm Partnership, Drayton Farm, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire
(FDM:02028), scan weight EBV 12.19; muscle depth EBV 3.64; index 339.
3, J Goldie, Townfoot, Mouswald, Dumfries (GJG:02038), scan weight EBV
8.46; muscle depth EBV 2.04; index 319.
4, SA & BM BennettPenygelly, Hewaswater, St Austell, Cornwall (BAP:02258),
scan weight EBV 7.8; muscle depth EBV 2.22; index 305.
1, TA & R Laird, Cambwell Farm, By Biggar, Lanarkshire, (LTC:03088),
scan weight EBV 10.7; muscle depth EBV 1.82; index 273.
2, RM & EA Payne, Carr Head Farm, Underbank, Stocksbridge, Sheffield
(PRH:03014) scan weight EBV 10.29; muscle depth EBV 2.98; index 282.
3, J Goldie (GJG:03172), scan weight EBV 7.13; muscle depth EBV 3.78;
4, J Goldie (GJG:03106), scan weight EBV 9.83; muscle depth EBV 1.84;