North coast Texel flocks set to host open night

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The Northern Ireland Texel Sheep Breeders Club will be holding their open night on Saturday, 29th July at the home of Victor and Carol Chestnutt and son David, owners of Clougher and Bushmills Texels, 9 Clougher Road, Bushmills, BT57 8XP.

Farming 270 acres at Bushmills on the scenic North Coast the Chestnutt family have lived and farmed in the area for four generations.

The Chestnutts run a large farming enterprise consisting of arable, dairy, beef and sheep.

With the help of wife Carol and son David the family manage 150 Montbeliarde Holestein cross dairy herd, 80 pedigree beef herd and 140 pedigree and commercial sheep flock, including 60 Pedigree Texels. From the age of 26 Victor has worked hard to develop and expand the business, one project at a time to what it is today. Victor is well known for his many roles within farming circles including Chairman and co-ordinator of the Causeway Coast Quality Lamb Group, past Chairman of the British Texel Sheep Society and more recently in farming politics as Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

In the 1980’s Victor recognized the contribution the Texel breed was bringing to the sheep industry and established the Clougher Flock which quickly became one of the largest and well known flocks in Northern Ireland and mainland UK.

The family lamb the Texel ewes at the beginning of February with most ewes lambed by mid-March so they can meet readiness for pedigree and commercial ram sales from August onwards. In 1993 the flock was honoured to win the National Sheep Association Pedigree Flock of the Year and also marked the flock’s first trip to the Scottish National Premier Sales in Lanark where they claimed third place with a ram lamb which later sold for £3600. Both flocks regularly feature in the Northern Ireland Texel Clubs NI Flock Competition, with Clougher winning the large flock category in 2004 and 2005 and claiming overall winner four years running from 1999-2002 and more recently Reserve Champion Flock 2016. Show ring success are no exception, with the names Clougher and Bushmills named regularly as achievers at the RUAS Balmoral.

Victor and David agree that “sound commercial attributes have helped the flock return good averages for commercial sheep throughout NI and indeed Lanark and Carlisle.”

“The Clougher and Bushmills flocks have been fortunate to breed many stock tups and consistently produce top prices both here in Northern Ireland and Scotland with sale figures hitting five figures and a top of 18000gns and it’s pleasing to hear reports of lambs sold making a mark in the breed,” says Victor.

The Clougher and Bushmills Flocks are well known to both commercial and pedigree Texel circles for producing Texel sheep with prime genetics to meet the demands of both markets.

Saturday evening, 29th July, will be an opportunity to come along for a farm tour and view stock from these first class flocks, with many other attractions as well, including a charity auction which will be held in aid of Marie Curie, an interbreed stock judging competition, BBQ, family entertainment and much more including trade stands.

The Chestnutt family would like to thank the sponsors for the evening’s events, namely Smyths of Daleside. Why not join the Club for a night of good fun and an opportunity to see some exceptional sheep from the Clougher and Bushmills Flocks prior to the busy sales season kicking off with Rathfriland on 28th August. Buyers should also note the new dates for the NI National Show and Sale of 6th and 7th September.