Texel breeders need to be ruthless in culling out everything but the very best if they're to retain premium prices. The stark message was delivered by noted Craven Arms, Shropshire, breeder Roger Williams. He and his son Anthony run the Clun Flock.
They sell as many as a hundred and fifty shearling rams each year and will be taking forty five to the NSA Wales and Border Ram Sale at the Royal Welsh showground on September 19. He says his customers return year after year because they know they can rely on the quality he delivers.
"I would call on breeders to cull their rams ruthlessly", he said. "Otherwise a lot of rams will be going through the ring with no-one bidding on them. The number of Texel members is increasing each year and we have to be ruthless otherwise we will see prices go down.
"Our policy is to recognise the percentage of lambs that are outstanding at birth and those are the ones that we follow through. But we keep a running check on them and
keep culling them right through the winter. We sell what we're not completely happy with as finished lamb.
"It's quite a rigorous culling policy that we have. But it doesn't matter how good people are at breeding, there are only so many that come through good enough at the end".
Mr Williams said buyers have come to regard his rams as top quality and return year after year to the main ram sale, as well as to the other sales he attends at Worcester, Llandovery, Welshpool and Ludlow. He's proud of the fact that he sells his MV accreditied rams at a stage where they're ready to go straight out and work and will improve rather than lose condition.
"We don't overfeed them", he added. "We try to sell them so that they will go out and improve for the next man. They're a hardy sheep and may sometimes be a little slower maturing than the Suffolk, but they will do it off grass.
"I get satisfaction from knowing my rams will maintain condition while they are working on the next farm. That is why my customers come back year after year. I'm selling to the commercial men and my rams are being purchased to do a job".
He stressed that the Texel is once again proving its superiority this Autumn in the finished lamb market. Butchers are clearly favouring it and the Texel is achieving a premium over other breeds.
The NSA Wales & Border Ram Sale will be held at the Royal Welsh Showground Builth Wells on Monday, 19 September 2005.