More than 80 young Texel breeders from across the UK and Eire converged on the north west of England over the weekend of 8-10 June at the biennial Texel Five Nations Event.
The event, the third of its kind, saw young Texel breeders from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland come together for a weekend of competitions and learning alongside visits to two of the north west of England’s leading Texel flocks.
Texel Sheep Society Youth Development Programme chairman Adrian Liggett said the weekend had been an exceptional event and those attending had seen some outstanding sheep at the same time as learning more about the UK and Irish sheep industries and the Texel breed’s place within it.
“This year’s Five Nations event included flock visits to the Procters and Sportsmans flocks of Procters Farm and Messrs Boden and Davies, respectively, giving young breeders the chance to see how some of the very best breeders manage their flocks.
“Both these flocks have invested heavily in the breed over a period of years and I know many youngsters took away a lot of insight from these breeders and how they are directing the future of their flocks,” explained Mr Liggett.
Alongside the flock visits those attending also took part in a wide range of competitions in teams of four, including stock judging a variety of livestock and a live to dead judging competition, as well as some more social aspects, with the weekend concluding on Sunday 10 June with a go karting competition.
The competitive part of the event saw Southern Ireland A team victorious, with Wales coming in second and Scotland B taking third spot, said Mr Liggett. “I’d like to congratulate all those who took part in the competitions, these three teams came out on top, but it was a close fought competition from start to finish.”
“Of course the event had a strong social aspect too and the opportunity to network with Texel breeders from across the UK and Ireland was warmly welcomed by our YDP members.”
The event received sponsorship from a number of organisations, including Dunbia, the North West Texel Club, the Solway and Tyne Texel Club, the Northern Irish Texel Breeders Club, the Scottish Texel Breeders Club, the North of Scotland Texel Club, the Shropshire and Border Counties Texel Club and the Texel Sheep Society.
“We are grateful for the support of all sponsors which have helped to ensure the weekend was a great success,” said Mr Liggett. “The Texel YDP also owes a significant debt of gratitude to Duncan Mellin, Sophie Dunstan, Jenna Ballantyne and the entire YDP committee for their hard work in organising the weekend.”
Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates said the next generation of Texel breeders are an important part of the future of the UK sheep industry and the Society was keen to support and encourage them to take on learning experiences whenever it can.
“As we enter an exciting era in sheep production when the focus will increasingly be on marginal gains, there is no doubt that skilled young people will become increasingly important. The sheep industry needs its young people to be multi-skilled, open minded and technologically competent individuals.
“Events such as this give our young people the opportunity to showcase and further develop their skills in a friendly, competitive environment. There is a world of opportunity available to those youngsters with the right skills and the ability to apply them in a wide range of situations,” he added.