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Stackyard News May 2012

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Texels Meeting the Needs of Farmers and Retail Butchers

Texel tups with their exceptional carcass shape and deep loins, combined with excellent early growth are the sire of choice for many commercial sheep producers wanting to maximise lamb value.

Alan Elliott

Alan Elliott

But, not only do Texels get the vote from many of the UK’s leading farmers, they also meet the needs of the discerning retail butcher trade, helping one south west Scotland-based butcher pick up a leading industry award.

Northern Irish born and bred butcher Alan Elliott has earned a reputation as being one of the United Kingdom's leading meat purveyors since opening his award winning shop, Dalbeattie Fine Foods, in 2004.

Mr Elliot’s bustling butchery has notched up an array of accolades for its produce culminating in him securing the title of UK Young Butcher of the Year 2008.

"I pay particular attention to where I source my meat from and take an interest in the way that it is has been reared on the farm. This has a bearing on the overall flavour and texture which is extremely important for my customers," he explains.

When it comes to sourcing the best possible lamb for the shop Mr Elliott is a staunch Texel fan and sources lamb from leading local estate Douganhill Farms, managed by Brian MacTaggart. Alan has been impressed with Douganhill Texel lambs and how they kill out.

Douganhill Farms
With a clutch of leading primestock championships, including wins at Royal Smithfield and the Royal Highland Winter Fair, to his name Mr MacTaggart is well placed to produce top quality prime lambs for Mr Elliott and runs a pedigree Texel flock alongside a large commercial flock and a pedigree flock of North Country Cheviots.

Alan's first experience of Texel came at an early age on his father’s farm at Cookstown, Co Tyrone. A number of pure and commercial Texel ewes were kept with lambs regularly topping the market.

"We can rely on Texel lambs to deliver a high meat to bone ratio satisfying our customers' high expectations. Their quality is consistent which is the name of the game in our business."

British Texel Sheep Society chairman Nick Tavernor said the Texel breed’s ability to meet the needs of both retail butchers, farm shops and the mainstream supermarket trade is second to none and is behind the breed’s dominance of the UK market. “No matter what type of ewe you put a Texel tup to you know you’re going to end up with a highly saleable prime lamb.

“Butchers, processors and consumers all recognise the quality offered by Texel lambs and the value they offer with their high meat to bone ratio works for all sectors of the retail trade.”

Since their introduction in to the UK nearly forty years ago Texels have been at the forefront of the sheep industry and this year is no different, with a record number of Texel flocks taking up performance recording, demonstrating breeders' ongoing desire to meet the needs of commercial sheep farmers, added Mr Tavernor.

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