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Stackyard News May 2012

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Texel Crosses Deliver Premiums in Spring Lamb Trade

Economic uncertainty and the weakening Euro have undoubtedly hindered the spring lamb trade in recent weeks making producing top quality lambs capable of earning premium prices even more essential.

Commercial producer Martin Greenfield who has recently sold lambs at premium prices at Newark Market.

Martin Greenfield

And, spring lamb producers using Texel sires have been doing just that in recent weeks and benefitting from better prices as a result of the breed's ability to produce quality lambs at ideal weights.

In the last week Texel sired spring lambs have been at the top of the prices across the country from Carlisle in the north to Foscote in the south and at many places in between, says British Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates.

"Recent dips in spring lamb trade have once again reinforced the message that quality lambs will earn a premium.

"A year ago any decent lamb was making about £95, now, following the weakening of the Euro and other trade factors it is only the best lambs which are at that level. In most cases those best lambs are Texel crosses, clearly demonstrating the added value a good Texel ram can add to spring lambs.

“This is true across the country and Texel crosses are in demand from local butchers, UK retailers and the export trade alike. This is something no other breed can match in terms of volume of supply and consistent quality of product.”

In the north of the country Monday's (21 May) sale at Carlisle resulted in a top price of £118/head (298.7p/kg) for a pen of Texel crosses from J A and L A Thompson, Scaleby. This was some 84p/kg ahead of the market average for the day.

Meanwhile at Bakewell on Monday (21 May) Messrs P and N Tattersal of York led the trade with 37kg Texel crosses at (£106.50) 288p/kg, up by more than 60p/kg up on the overall average.

And Tuesday's sale at Foscote, Buckinghamshire, saw Merrick and Julie Pinny sell 43kg Texel lambs to top the market at £92.50 (215p/kg), with other heavier Texels from F C Von Oppenheim hitting a peak of £96/head.

On the same day trade at Ashford, Kent, reinforced the demand for quality Texel sired lambs, with 38kg Texel crosses selling to £92.50 (243.42p/kg) from Mrs V E Link, some 36p/kg ahead of the market average.Newark's prime sheep sale on Wednesday (23 May) also bore testament to the premium Texel lambs can earn when Martin Greenfield topped the prices with Texel cross lambs at £97 (236p/kg), a premium of 32p/kg over the day's market average.

At a time when sheep farmers are wondering just which way the lamb trade will go the ability to maximise profits by producing a premium product is one every farmer should be exploring, said Mr Yates.

“Texel crosses offer increased margins for many farmers and because of their evenness of fleshing and high meat:bone ratio and low fat cover they are also the firm favourite of processors too.”

Ongoing genetic improvement thanks to record numbers of Signet recorded Texel flocks will also add even more benefit to commercial sheep producers in the coming years as Texel breeders continue to focus on delivering rams with the traits demanded by the modern sheep industry, he added.

link Texels Meeting the Needs of Farmers and Retail Butchers
link Key Sheep Focus at Next Monitor Farm Meeting
link Dorset Sheep in Demand with Increased Average at May Fair

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