TEXELS have played a very important role for 25 years on the Scott family farm based at Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.
The 300 acre upland farm is home to 330 ewes and a select suckler cow enterprise all managed by enthusiastic Russell Scott
The majority of the ewes in the flock have an element of Texel in their breeding, with Texel rams used extensively throughout. Russell selects his breeding replacements from ewe lambs bred in the flock, with the assistance of the Hillsborough Management Recording Scheme. This popular system allows Russell to make breeding and management decisions that can boost the overall profitability of the flock. All of the decisions are based on performance information rather than visual assessment only, and this system has worked well for Russell to date.
“With the help of the management scheme, lambing ease, lamb viability and mothering ability are rated along with number of lambs reared and their weight at point of sale. Using this information I am able to follow closely each individual ewes input into the overall income for the flock. The positive influence of using Texel rams extensively in the flock is clear to be seen using this system,” states Russell.
But of course it is not just the Texel influence on the breeding ewes that is monitored within this flock. Russell follows closely the performance of his throughput of lambs.
Lambing kicks off from the 12th March onwards, with the first draw of lambs selected around the 15th June. All ewes are lambed indoors for ease of management, then the units are put out to the field within a couple of days. Ewes are managed in paddocks, and creep feed is only fed to ram lambs.
Ram lambs selected for slaughter will register weights averaging 21 kilos with consistent grading of U or above.
Russell was awarded the NI Sheep Farmer of the Year award in 2011, and attributes part of his success to the consistency provided by Texel.
“In addition to observing how the farm unit is managed, the performance of the flock was a key part of impressing judges. We have used Texel rams for 25 years now, and have no plans to change this winning formula. We have found Texel to be highly successful in producing an prolific breeding ewe, and an exceptional lamb.”
When selecting rams for the flock Russell aims to select a long, shapely ram with a tight skin. If performance recording information is available this data is also taken on board.
There is a bumper entry of 244 Texel rams and shearling ewes heading to Enniskillen Mart next Saturday (8th September). Judging commences at 9am followed by the sale at 10.30am. Sponsorship is kindly provided by Farmcare Products.
Request a catalogue by calling 02866 322218.