The British Texel Sheep Society marked yet another milestone in the breed’s development and dominance of the British terminal sire market in 2011, with a record sales income at sales run under the Society’s auspices.
In the last three years, sale income at these sales has risen by 45%, with the 2011 sales yielding a gross income of £4.57m, up from £4.02m in 2010 and a significant jump up from the 2008 figure of £3.15m.
And, said BTSS chief executive John Yates, this is only the income at Society sales, including the four national sales and the club sales. “It does not include the likes of Kelso Tup Sale or the collective female sales held in the winter where many of the top priced females have historically been sold.
“There is no doubt that the Texel economy is one of the most valuable in the livestock sector, with many large and small businesses relying heavily on the continued success of the breed.”
Speaking ahead of this week's Sheep Event 2012, Malvern, Mr Yates said the increasing value of sales had come at a time when other parts of the wider economy were on a downturn and was a result of Texel breeders continuing to invest in improving the breed to suit the demands of commercial farmers.
“An increase in uptake of performance recording has helped underline the already strong commercial attributes of the breed and ensured commercial producers can buy Texel genetics knowing they will perform in any environment no matter where in the UK they farm.
“And while there have of course been some notable high prices at the major Society sales in the last few years, including a top call of 46,000gns at Lanark last year for Foyleview Superstar and a world record price of 220,000gns at the same sale in 2009 for Deveronvale Perfection, the mainstay of the breed continues to be the volume of commercial customers from across the UK.”
In 2011 the major tup sales at Builth Wells and Kelso represented a high proportion for the Texel breed, re affirming the Texel commercial popularity added Mr Yates. “It is the demand and the choice on offer at these large, multi-breed commercial sales which is giving Texel breeders the confidence to invest in the best available genetics at the main breed Society sales.”
And the influence of these leading genetics is felt across the sheep industry as these bloodlines filter down to commercial farmers the length and breadth of the UK. “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.
“Extensive work to improve the growth rate in Texel cross lambs is also reaping benefits, with Texel sired lambs now some of the first to reach the market allowing commercial farmers using Texel sires to get the very best prices for their lambs.
“Their lower fat content compared to some breeds means a reduction in waste in abattoirs and butchers too, helping those businesses reduce their costs and improve margins .”
Proof of this demand for Texel sired lambs has come at prime sheep sales in recent weeks with sales at Ashford, Kent, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and Darlington, Co Durham last week seeing Texel sired lambs taking the pick of the prices.
At Ashford, the best Texel cross lambs from Vi Link sold at 222p/kg, some 32p/kg over the day's average, while at Melton Mowbray, the entry of more than 2000 prime lambs was led at 220p/kg by Texel crosses from R and A Sanderson, Oakham, a 30p premium on the day's market average.
And at Darlington Texel cross lambs from R Hall and Son topped the trade at 222p/kg, with other Texel crosses from M W Skidmore selling to take the top price/head of £101.
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