Texel sired old season lambs are rising to the top of a strong prime sheep trade and exceeding market averages in many parts of the UK, rewarding finishers who have put their faith in the country’s most popular terminal sire breed.
While prime lamb prices across the UK have been exceptional over the last few weeks, it is Texel sired entries which have being earning the biggest premiums in many centres, including Borderway Mart, Carlisle, on Monday (26 February). Here, Texel crosses sold to a high of 291.6p/kg, some 81.6p/kg ahead of the day’s market average price of 210p/kg, with many pens of Texel sired old season lambs selling at more than 250p/kg.
Texels also led the way on a per head basis, selling to £123.80/head on a day when more than 1700 hoggets were sold.
Across the border at St Boswells on the same day Texels were once again among the highest prices, selling to £116/head and 263.3p/kg, more than 55p/kg ahead of the day’s market average of 205.7p/kg.
Meanwhile, further north at Thainstone last Thursday (22 February), it was Texel crosses which lead the way on both a p/kg and a per head basis, with 39kg Texel sired hoggets selling to 292.3p/kg and 43kg entries making £115/head.
And at Newark on Saturday (24 February) heavyweight Texel cross old season lambs were the pick of the trade, with 78kg entries making £162/head.
On the other end of the spectrum, farmers with Texel cross ewes are also being well rewarded for their cull ewes, with Newark seeing Texel sired cull ewes trading at £135/head, while similarly bred ewes at Thainstone made up to £135.50/head.
In Wales Ruthin market saw Texel cull ewes sell to £101/head and in the north west of England Bentham Market recorded prices of up to £127.50/head for Texel sired cull ewes.
Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates says both butchers and large-scale processors are attracted to Texel lambs for their consistency and evenness of fleshing. “The breed’s excellent killing out percentage, coupled with greater proportions of prime cuts is making them the first choice of processors and butchers looking to maximise the value of the lambs they’re sourcing.”
For those farmers running Texel cross ewes Mr Yates says there is a double benefit, with their lambs being well sought after and cull ewes retaining high values at the end of their working lives. “This helps significantly with flock depreciation and allows farmers to invest in higher quality replacements, helping maximise the value of future lamb crops.”