Armagh sheep farmer achieves 90% U grades with his Blue Texel cross lambs

Roy McCall
Roy McCall

Blue Texels are proving a wise choice for Markethill based sheep farmer Roy McCall and his wife, Flo, having used Blue Texel sires on their Continental cross flock for the last three years.

Mr McCall who runs 170 ewes on his 70 acre farm, splits his lambing in to two batches with the first group lambing in January and the second towards the end of March, with all ewes lambed inside and turned back to grass within two days of lambing.

Initially attracted to the breed for its easy lambing traits coupled with superior carcass Mr McCall has been impressed with the ability of Blue Texel cross lambs to withstand the worst of the Northern Irish weather and finish early.

“We find the ewes lambing to Blue Texels largely lamb themselves and lambs are vigorous and quick to suck,” said Mr McCall. “As hardy lambs with good early vigour we have no fear of turning them out to grass from two days old whatever the weather.”

The McCalls bought their first Blue Texel from the Little Whisker flock of the Carson family in 2014 and have been so impressed with the progeny that they’ve since bought another ram to go alongside the original one.

Mr McCall continued: “The Blue Texel cross lambs finish quickly and we aim to kill them at 40kg live weight which gives a 21-22kg carcase. About 90% grade as Us, with the remaining 10% grading as Es. We couldn’t really ask for more. This year we’ll be putting nearly half the flock to Blue Texel rams, that’s how impressed we’ve been with the lambs they’ve produced for us.”

One worry Mr McCall had was that the lambs would be born black, however, he has only had 2% born black. Lambs are only born black to a white ewe crossed with a Blue Texel if she carries the agouti blue coat gene.

Commercial and pedigree sheep farmers will have the opportunity to buy pedigree Blue Texels at the Blue Texel Society’s second Northern Ireland (export) show and sale which will be held at Dungannon Farmer’s Mart on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28, (show at 9.30am and sale at 12.30pm).