Lambs by Texel sires enjoyed an array of show success at the major winter primestock shows at the latter end of 2013, including picking up several live and carcass championships.
Quite possibly the highlight came when Herefordshire-based Dutch Texel breeder Robin Slade completed a memorable double at the East of England Smithfield Festival, Peterborough, scooping the lamb carcass championship and reserve championship.
His champion, a homebred Dutch Texel, killed out at 22kg achieving an E3L classification. Sired by a homebred tup from Robin’s Dutch Texel Weekfield flock, this lamb weighed 38kg alive. A very similar pure-bred Dutch Texel gained his reserve card which again graded at E3L and weighed 22.5kg.
Texel lambs also won the event’s Continental purebred championship, with this award won by a pair of Texels from David and Linda Wadland, with a pair of Dutch Texels from Robin Slade standing reserve.
And Mr Slade also enjoyed success at the English Winter Fair, Stafford, with a pair of purebred Texels picking up the reserve supreme championship under judge Paul Slater, Macclesfield.
Champion pair of Texel lambs from the English Winter Fair, Stafford – exhibited by David Wadland assisted by sheep fitter Kate Gunn – courtesy of Tim Scrivener
Mr Slater said the lambs, both by homebred sires, were exactly what the modern retail and export trade was looking for, being 41kg apiece and evenly fleshed throughout.
Mr Slade was also on form in the event’s live/dead competition, picking up his 14th live/dead championship at the show. Reserve in the live/dead went to fellow Texel exhibitors, the Windsor family, Carmarthenshire.
And not to be outdone were the Derbyshire-based Ritter family who collected the supreme championship in the carcass competition with a Texel cross lamb which graded E3 and weighed 24.3kg on the hook.
David and Linda Wadland, also flew the flag for the breed, picking up the purebred championship with a pair of Texel lambs sired by a Slapton tup bred by Barbara Smith, Northants.
North of the border at the Scottish National Winter Fair, Ingliston, the Whiteford family made a successful return to the showring, taking the supreme sheep championship with their Texel sired pair.
The Whitefords’ winners were a pair of lambs which tipped the scales at 46.5kg apiece and came through as winners of the butchers weight section before being tapped out as overall champions by judge John Campbell, Alnwick.
This pair are sired by the 5000gns tup Procters Rambo bought from the Solway and Tyne sale in 2011. This was the Whiteford family’s first trip to the event since their last win there in 2005.
Taking the lightweight Texel class in the butchers weight lambs were a pair from John Hall and family, with the Halls also taking second in the heavyweight class behind the overall champions.
And across Offah’s Dyke at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair Texel lambs took the reserve overall championship in the form of a pair of Dutch Texel sired lambs from John Hall and family, Cumbria.
The Hall family, took the reserve overall live lamb championship with a 95.5kg pair of lambs which came through as winners of the purebred Continental section before being tapped out as reserve overall winners.
Prominent primestock showman Robin Slade also enjoyed success in the live lamb classes, taking the reserve spot in the Butchers’ weight second with a 78kg pair of pure Dutch Texels from his flock of 400 ewes.
And Mr Slade backed this success up by taking the overall championship in the pairs carcass competition. Again purebred Dutch Texels, these carcasses both graded E3L. They weighed 20kg and 22kg dead and 37kg each live.
In the Texel class in the purebred Continental section John Hall’s reserve overall champions won the class, while second went to Robin Slade’s pair at 93.5kg. Messrs Windsor’s 79.5kg pair stood third.
At Agri-Expo, Carlisle, honours were evenly split between Robin Slade and David and Linda Wadland, with Robin winning the lightweight class and the Wadlands the heavy weight class.
Taking top honours in the lightweight class for lambs under 40kg were a pair of 38.5kg lambs from Herefordshire-based Robin Slade and by a homebred sire. Second in this class were a pair from local exhibitors John Hall and family weighing 35.5kg and in third was Antony Thompson, Lancashire, with his pair tipping the scales at 36.75kg apiece.
Then in the heavier lamb class for those over 40.1kg the winners were a pair weighing 45.6kg each from the David and Linda Wadland, Northamptonshire, with this pair sneaking ahead of another pair from Robin Slade which weighed 43.25kg each. Third in this class went to J and W Kennedy, with their pair weighing 53.75kg each.
Texel genetics were also to the fore in the championship for crossbred lambs bred from hill ewes. Winning this championship were a pair of 50kg Texel x South Country Cheviot lambs from Langholm-based Neil and Elliot Cavers, with another pair of 47.25kg Texel crosses reserve for Messrs Owen Brothers, Glan Conwy.