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British Farming Awards entries open

The British Farming Awards are back for a fifth year, this time with a brand new venue - the National Conference Centre in Birmingham - and supported by Morrisons, with entries open from today (19th April).  Organised by Briefing Media Agriculture, parent company of Farmers Guardian, Arable Farming and Dairy Farmer, there are 14 categories in total.

Alongside farming’s core sectors – dairy, beef, sheep, arable and machinery – there is also a celebration of new entrants coming into the industry, the wealth of diversification businesses and the acknowledgement of an evolving digital presence within farming.

Texel Society members have previously fared well in the competition, reaching the final three on a number of occasions and helping raise the profile of their businesses in the process. Members are encouraged to enter themselves or nominate others they feel are worthy of an award.

Organisers are also looking for entries for Agricultural Student of the Year, Contractor of the Year and Family Farming Business of the Year. Group head of content for Briefing Media Agriculture Emma Penny says: The awards are not about being the biggest and best in a given sector, nor about being the most profitable or at the peak of a business. Instead our categories recognise how British farmers have successfully introduced innovation to drive their business forward, despite ever increasing challenges.

“From the smallest businesses to the larger units and from start-ups to those which are long established, the British Farming Awards is a reflection of the diversity, innovation and strength of spirit across our industry."

Andrew Thornber, Morrisons Manufacturing Managing Director, says: “Morrisons is pleased to sponsor The British Farming Awards. We understand that it is important for British farmers and it’s really important for Morrisons because we rely on British farming being successful.

“If our customers are going to buy more British food and support the British countryside, it’s imperative to show them what farmers do every day, their high standards, and great work to feed our communities and families."

If you have re-invented your business, changed your approach, developed a new agricultural input, adopted new technology or launched a farm diversification, the organisers want to hear from you.

To enter or nominate someone you feel is doing an exceptional job and deserves recognition for their efforts, simply complete the online application form by Friday, July 14, 2017.

For more information on the awards, individual categories and tips on entering, visit  

Award categories:

The awards welcome individual entries but also nominations from friends, family or fellow professionals.

  •     Agricultural Student of the Year sponsored by Kubota UK

  •    Arable Innovator of the Year sponsored by Dow AgroSciences

  •    Beef Innovator of the Year sponsored by ABP Food Group
  •    Contractor Innovator of the Year sponsored by Fendt
  •    Dairy Innovator of the Year sponsored by Afimilk

  •    Digital Innovator of the Year sponsored by Herdwatch

  •    Diversification Innovator of the Year (Small) and (Medium-Large)
  •    Family Farming Business of the Year sponsored by Morrisons

  •   Farmers Guardian's Farming Hero sponsored by AFP – Asset Finance Partners Ltd

  •   Machinery Innovator of the Year sponsored by Armatrac

  •   New Entrants Award: Against the odds sponsored by Massey Ferguson

  •   Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture sponsored by NSF Agriculture
  •   Sheep Innovator of the Year sponsored by Shearwell Data

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High performance Texel semen heads to New Zealand

What is believed to be the first consignment of British Texel semen to be shipped to New Zealand has recently arrived in the country. The semen, all consigned by the Laird family’s Cambwell flock, Lanarkshire, came from rams all with leading performance figures and chosen for a number of key traits. Robert Laird said the shipment resulted from an enquiry from former UK breeder Jim Sharatt, now farming in New Zealand.

“Jim and a number of other New Zealand breeders realized that the opening of the import market from the UK gave them a great opportunity to source new genetics and potentially improve their flocks.

“However, they were looking for top performance figures to maximise the gain they were looking to make. But, as in the UK they believe there has been too much emphasis on lean growth to the detriment of carcass quality and ewe longevity,” explained Mr Laird.

As a result they selected semen from three rams all with positive fat EBVs which is essential for farms on higher ground and to aid finishing at grass, he said. “All three rams are also in the top 1% of the breed in this country for muscle depth.

“The three rams are the 2012-born Cambwell Trademark, Cambwell Yankie Doodle and Grougfoot Wizard.” Trademark has an index of 437 and a litter size EBV of 0.37, among the best in the country and ideal when prolificacy is required. He is sired by the 20,000gns Sportsmans Supreme and his dam is a full sister to the 40,000gns Cambwell Robroy and the 28,000gns Cambwell Socrates.

Camberwell Trademark

Yankie Doodle, meanwhile, is by Granite Untouchable and out of a 2009-born ewe by Caereinion Number One. With his mother still breeding at eight years old and her sire having lasted nine years, he carries great longevity as well an index of 355 and also scores well for maternal ability.

The final ram, Grougfoot Wizard, was purchased as a lamb and is by Stainton Valour and out of a 10-year-old dam by the 21,000gns Craighead Masterpiece. He has an index of 422 and is highly ranked for scan weight and eight-week weight too, ensuring good growth in his progeny.

In addition to the requirement for high performance figures all three rams had to be DNA tested for microphthalmia, footrot resilience, lamb survival and cold tolerance. Samples for this were collected by AB Europe and sent to Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand for testing, explained Mr Laird.

“As a result of all three rams passing these tests their progeny are able to be registered in the New Zealand Texel Society flock book and used in other pedigree flocks,” he added.

The New Zealand breeders have imported a total of 185 straws of semen from the three rams, with the breeders involved being Jim Sharrat of the Karak flock, Roger Webber of the Grasmere flock, Rob Forsyth of Premier Texels, Dave Burn of the Kowhai Glen flock and Dan Klinger of the Rosewhere flock.

British Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates said the export was another milestone in the breed’s history in the UK and congratulated Mr Laird on fulfilling the order. “British Texel genetics have been exported across much of the world, with the breed’s exceptional performance potential, allied with its ability to finish easily off forage and its overall adaptability and versatility making it a firm favourite with breeders across the globe.

“We look forward to hearing how these rams perform in New Zealand and wish the entrepreneurial New Zealand breeders the best of luck with their future breeding projects.”

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April NADIS Parasite forecast

This month's NADIS parasite forecast includes takes a look at the risk of nematodirus in young lambs and the challenges posed by coccidioiss too. It also touches on post-lambing worming strategies for ewes and the need for targeted treatments



To read the parasite forecast and learn more about these critical issues, see the NADIS forecast. A webinar on these issues can also be seen here, which helps explain the conditions and their management in more detail.

There is also some topical advice on mineral deficiencies in lambs which will be of interest to many. 

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Ruth Lucas - Fimber Flock

Ruth Lucas of the Fimber flock, Driffield, East Yorkshire, sadly passed away on Wednesday 29th March. Ruth is survived by her husband Jack, sons, Mark and Simon, daughter, Karen, daughter in law, Sarah, grandchildren Sophie and Milly and her sister Mary.

Ruth was a great supporter of the Texel breed, accompanying and assisting Jack at many shows and sales over the years. She was loved and admired by many and will be greatly missed. Our sympathies are with her family.

A thanksgiving ceremony will be held on Wednesday 5th April at 4.00pm at Octon Crematorium,  Octon Cross Road, Driffield, YO25 3BL. 

Family flowers only.


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Max Preece - Wrickton Flock

Max was a major influence in the development of the Shropshire & Borders Club and the promotion of the Texel Breed within the area.

He started with Texels in the late seventies and was club chairman in 1986 & 1987.  He was club president from 1999 - 2007. Max & Gwen's efforts made the Shropshire Club the envy of many.  His charm and knowledge will be sadly missed.

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Claudine Lear

It is with sadness that the Society reports the passing of Claudine Lear, wife of Michael of the Sidborough flock.

The funeral will be on Thursday 16 March at 2.30pm at Loxbeare church going on afterwards to Calverleigh village hall.

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British Texel genetics triumph in Paris

British Texel genetics fared well in the judging at this year’s Salon International de l’Agriculture (Paris Show), with a son of Teilo Welsh Dragon, the first Welsh Texel to be exported to France, picking up the championship at this prestigious event.

The ram hogg was shown by Christophe Pery and is out of a homebred ewe. Bred by John Eirian Davies, Teilo Welsh Dragon is a son of Deveronvale Viscount, a sire purchased jointly with the Aman flock for 4800gns. His dam is VDT09239, a Knock Nugget daughter which was also dam of Teilo Vawr, the top priced ram lamb at the Main NSA Ram Sale, Builth Wells, in 2016.

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February NADIS Parasite Forecast

This month's NADIS parasite forecast includes information on updating flock health plans as well as the risk of worms in over wintered shearlings and the threat of lice and mites, highlighting the need for correct diagnosis before treatment.

To read the parasite forecast and learn more about these critical issues, see the NADIS forecast. A webinar on these issues can also be seen here, which helps explain the conditions and their management in more detail.

And, with lambing in full swing, there is some topical advice available on neo-natal diseases in lambs. 

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Royal Smithfield Club severes link with East of England Agricultural Society

The East of England Agricultural Society and the Royal Smithfield Club have agreed amicably to end their joint involvement in the East of England Agricultural Society’s Smithfield Festival after seven years of collaboration. As a result, the Society will run its own East of England Winter Primestock Festival in late November 2017; while the Club will pursue other initiatives.

Since the start of the joint venture there has been a successful revival of the leading primestock show in the East of England, however, both parties agree it is now time to refocus activities for each charity. 

“The Society remains committed to providing a quality primestock event which will not only provide a strong competitive element for livestock producers, but will also enable us to fulfil our charitable objectives,” said William Haire, Agricultural Development Manager at the Society.

“We will support education through such initiatives as our College Challenge and at the same time cater for a broader range of stockmen through our knowledge transfer initiative - Stocktech.”

The Royal Smithfield Club has enjoyed working with the Society, however, the Club has a broad remit that extends from the breeding of all classes of livestock through to delivering public benefit to the consumer, said Geoff Burgess, the Club’s Honorary Secretary. “It is clear that the East of England Agricultural Society now has the resources and expertise to run a successful primestock event; which frees the Club to develop other initiatives. 

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Margaret Perrings - Pergill

It is with regret that we announce the death of Margaret, who died peacefully at home on Friday 27th January 2017, aged 69 years.


Margaret along with her late husband Mike was a long standing member of the Society who bought their first Texel sheep back in the early 1980s. 

The funeral will be held at St.Alkelda's Church, Giggleswick, North Yorkshire, on Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 12 noon.

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