Genetically we have achieved what we set out to be which was to be, the
2009 to 2012 - UK’s TOP TEXEL GENETIC PERFORMANCE FLOCK
THIS YEAR ALL BUT 5 LAMBS OF THE 90 BORN ARE IN THE TOP 1% OF THE TEXEL BREED INDEX.
We have deliberately avoided the large headed, short necked types that are currently so popular in the breed showring as we are trying to select for easier lambing while improving the general structure of the sheep and improving the meat production capabilities.
This is an aim, which we have also very successfully achieved with our Suffolks, Mules, Scottish Blackface and Suffolk Cross flocks on the farm.
Gallowshill farm, where the flock is kept, is part of the National Trust’s Wallington Estate.
The Texel flock has replaced the 40 head suckler cow herd that used to be kept but due to the wet conditions on most of our land and subsequent 7 month housing period pushing up costs combined with a period of appalling poor returns for beef cattle we decided to concentrate on sheep and establish a high indexed pedigree Texel flock.
Richard Oates who kept the Lumbylaw Texel flock for many years decided to retire and disperse his flock over a two year period at auction at H&H Carlisle. We saw this as a great opportunity to begin the establishment of our new Texel flock.
One of the best ways of getting the best animals is at dispersal sales and this was an opportunity too good to miss as the Lumbylaw flock was the UK’s top genetic performance flock.
The ewes we purchased were very carefully selected using the catalogue, looking at indexes and individual trait EBV’s, genotypes and studying their performance and history via the Basco website.
In the first sale in 2008 over 200 ewes and gimmers were on offer, all scanned in lamb and the following year another hundred were for sale.
Having decided what looked good on paper we got to the sale very early and inspected our short listed pregnant females, all expecting multiple births.
The sheep with characteristics that did not come up to our high standard were crossed off and on each occasion we selected about twice as many animals as we intended to purchase, so when ewes reached very high prices we could drop out. We did pay from 370 to 1600 gns per head and on both occasions came back with the animals we really wanted to purchase.
In 2008 we also purchased a ram jointly with the Smailholm flock from Sandyknowe at Kelso who we named Lumbylaw Never Say Die (ORL07222). He has turned out to be the highest indexed Lumbylaw tup ever produced and although he broke his neck trying to settle an argument just before the tupping season is still available to us, as INNOVIS had frozen some semen just for this eventuality.
As we bought a number of unrelated females, who were in-lamb to numerous unrelated rams, we are still able to use homebred rams in the flock.
In 2011 we purchased six high index females from East Middle with high positives for fat, which is essential for health and general well being in the female flock.
For further information email Hans Porksen at: firstname.lastname@example.org
©Hans Porksen 2012