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Stackyard News Oct 08

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British Texels Fly the Flag

Over the past few months members of the British Texel Sheep Society have been very busy flying the flag abroad and opening new doors for export business.

Stonebridge & Loxley gimmers being loaded for Romania.

texel exports

In March embryos and semen were sent to Guyana for 70 recipients, the native Barbados Black Belly ewe, under a new agricultural improvement scheme run by the Guyanan government and the British High Commission. The main objective is to improve the sheep livestock sector in the country and the British Texel genetics were seen as the ideal tool. The embryos were selected from the Wealden flock of Mr Tim Healy of Horsham in West Sussex. Some 150 straws of Performance recorded Texel semen was also sent out from Gail Brownsett from her Llanferres flock. Rams were selected for good maternal Index, along with high EBV growth. Progeny from the inseminations of the Barbados Black Belly ewes will be used by local breeders to develop new maternal lines, consisting of Texel genes, with the aim of improving the carcase of the main maternal breed available. The Society sent over a representative in August to help lamb these ewes and there are now 45 purebred Texels on the ground to start the nucleus flock. In 16 months time they will use British Texel semen on this nucleus flock to increase numbers and to assist with ongoing trials of the breed in the tropical climate.

In early September 10 British Texel gimmers; five from the Stonebridge flock of Steve Richardson of Barnsley, South Yorkshire and five from the Loxley flock of John North of Goole, West Yorkshire, alongside five shearling tups from Peter Longdin’s Doncaster, based Wellingley flock in South Yorkshire, left our shores for the long trip to Romania. They were purchased by Anca and Michael Holt of Northern Romania, who aim to set up a breeding flock of purebred registered Texels. The Holts visited the UK in 2007 through Mike Adams and BLG (British Livestock Genetics Consortium).

In October two ram lambs were sent from the Northamptonshire flocks of Mrs Sue Holloway at Stanwick and Mr Andrew Pinny of Holcot to Mr Joseph Ahler in Germany. The sheep were bought on behalf of a third party and were purchased to improve the growth and size of the German Texels.

Mr Mark Teeuw from Bleiswijk in Holland visited the farm of Simon Farmer in Hampshire and purchased two rams and 10 ewes to increase the numbers of his own Texel flock in Holland. Mr Teeuw had previously used a British Texel ram from John Williams and was so impressed by the size and performance of British Texels he wanted to capitalize on their growth capacity, so he returned to the UK to purchase some more British Texel genetics. They were shipped to Holland in mid October.

The Norwegian State of Agriculture in Oslo imported 40 straws of Drinkstone North Star semen from Texel member Arnold Park of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Again, improvements to the local Texel were expected by using a British Texel to stamp his mark on them. In particular improvements to the nucleus flocks, through the introgression of British Texel Genetics will improve the carcase quality of the rams entering the Norwegian AI centre. It is hoped that further dissemination of these high performance genetics through the well managed AI system in Norway will further improve the carcase quality produced by the National flock.

Charles Wray from USA has placed an order for 100 straws of Cambwell Laird semen with breeder Robert Laird of Scotland. Selected for his figures, breed type and offspring`s consistency of confirmation, it is hoped the order will be dispatched before the end of the year, making use of the newly reinstated USA Ovine Export certificate.

The Texel Society supports its members by assisting with the development of international trade and facilitation of export certification, in addition the Society produces a semen directory and ordering service through its website, whereby orders can be captured and discussions can be developed with overseas clients to benefit their UK members.

“The Texel breed has had a tremendous year even with the challenges that Bluetongue has given the industry. The Society’s efforts in Breed Promotion continue to increase market share for the breed, with excellent clearance at the sales in 2008, with good averages achieved. I am also extremely pleased that members are also benefiting from export sales, although niche at the moment, this income complements members UK sales and is very much welcomed. The Society continues to support overseas exhibitions and will be attending the Indagra Exhibition in Bucharest, Romania in early November. The breed is becoming a global breed and the Society is committed to expanding sales potential to meet the increasing demand. Interest in the breed from Eastern Europe is high for export of breeding stock and with good potential in the future from North & South America for semen and embryos. We are proving our success and continue to be committed to developing home and export markets to benefit our members” says Chief Executive, John Yates.

link Concerted Action Essential to Maintain Lamb Export Gains
link Lancashire Sheep Producer Wins Top Award
link New Chief Executive for Suffolk Sheep Society

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British Texel Sheep Society