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Texel Breeders Celebrate 40th Birthday

08 July 2014

UK - British Texel breeders are gearing up for a year of celebration as the British Texel Sheep Society marks its 40th anniversary in 2014.

In this its Ruby anniversary year the Society has a number of unique and exciting events planned to help breeders both young and old celebrate the occasion.

Activities culminate in the annual AGM and Social Weekend which is being held near Chester from 7 to 9 November.

Central to the 40th anniversary celebrations is a renewed focus on the future and with it the younger generation in the sheep industry, with the Society's Youth Development Programme gathering pace throughout the year and being at the centre of a number of events, including the Society's sponsorship of the Sheep Event at Malvern and the Royal Welsh Show in July, explains Society Chief Executive John Yates.

"As a breed and a Society the Texel has come a long way in the last 40 years, having grown to become the dominant sire in the UK with 29 per cent of all sires used in the UK being Texel sires. Texel breeders have worked hard over the last 40 years to cooperate, both together and with their commercial customers, to ensure the breed meets the demands of the market and the breed's rise to its current position is a mark of the dedication shown by breeders."

But, says Mr Yates, Texel breeders have never been known to rest on their laurels and the breed continues to adapt and evolve to suit the ever changing requirements of the industry.

"In this the Society's 40th year breeders are placing even greater emphasis on improving performance, utilising DNA technology and understanding the changing market. As part of this the Society has organised three overseas tours for members, to Switzerland, New Zealand and to the largest livestock event in Europe, Eurotier, in Germany in November, to allow breeders to appreciate the challenges faced by sheep and livestock producers in Europe and on the other side of the globe.”

"While these tours will be primarily social events there will be many opportunities for breeders to meet with other Texel Breeders, and experience different see Texel sheep production systems in both countries and I don't doubt many will return home enthused with ideas to further develop the Texel breed in the UK."

As in the UK the Texel breeds is the most numerous purebred terminal sire breed in New Zealand, accounting for 30 per cent of purebred terminal sires in a recent survey conducted by Massey and Lincoln Universities. "The Texel influence on New Zealand sheep production is further extended when looking at maternal breeds, with 42 per cent of all composite maternal breeds in New Zealand containing Texel genetics. According to the survey 40 per cent of New Zealand flocks are based on composite breeds, demonstrating the far reaching influence of Texels in leading sheep producing nations on both sides of the globe. The British Texel has been renowned for its “breed improver” ability for some time, with UK composites now also predominantly founded on Texel," adds Mr Yates.

Closer to home members across the UK will have the chance to gather and celebrate and socialise at various points in the year and the Society's variety of regional receptions at a number of leading shows will provide the focal point for many.

“And while this year will focus on celebrating the achievements of the last 40 years in the Texel breed there is no doubt the Society and our members are already making plans to continue the breed's dominance well in to the next 40 years” Mr Yates said.

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