Texels are well and truly cemented at the heart of UK sheep production, according to figures released this week in EBLEX’s British Sheep Breeds Survey.
The results of the survey which took place in 2012 show Texels as the most dominant sire breed with a 27% share of the ram market, explains British Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates.
The survey reports the Texel as being the second most widespread breed, with North Country Mules being the most widespread. On the ram side the Texels comprised more than a quarter of all rams in Britain and were found on nearly 18,000 farms.
“In the last 40 years since the first importations of Texels were made in to the UK the breed has, under the skilled guidance of breeders, adapted to the wide variety of climatic and topographic conditions in the UK.
“It is no surprise, therefore, to see Texels as the most popular sire choice across all breed types, with Texels working the length and breadth of the UK.”
But, what is perhaps most marked is the overall impact of the breed on the British sheep industry, with Texel crosses also accounting for 1.6m crossbred ewes too, more than 12% of the total ewe flock, explained Mr Yates.
“As a result of this the Texel breed’s influence on the overall sheep industry is dramatic and clearly farmers, processors and retailers are recognising and valuing the many benefits Texels bring.
“Improved lean meat yields, consistent fat cover and increased muscling are just some of the benefits retailers and processors see from Texel carcasses, with buyers readily willing to pay premium prices for Texel sired lambs.”
And the benefits don’t stop there either, with farmers seeing improved lamb vigour and growth rates as just two of the many benefits of using Texel sires.
The result of the Texel breed’s strong influence on the sheep industry is marked when it comes to the impact the breed has on the meat produced, said Mr Yates.
“With Texels comprising 27% of the rams used and UK lamb output being 276,000t a year Texel sires account for more than 74,520t of lamb meat a year.”
Concluding Mr Yates said the results of the survey were testament to the adaptability and versatility of both the Texel breed and Texel breeders. “Texel breeders continue to innovate and improve the breed to suit the needs of commercial sheep producers across the UK.”
The full report can be found here