Largest ever live export of British Texel heads to Switzerland

Cambwell gimmers for export
Cambwell gimmers for export

The largest ever exportation in recent years of British Texels is heading to Switzerland having been selected on farms in Scotland in June this year by an inward mission of Swiss breeders who also visited the Royal Highland Show.

A total of 51 Texel shearling ewes and shearling rams will make up the consignment, with stock coming from the Cambwell flock of the Laird family, the Garngour, Clarks and Teiglum flocks of the Clark family, the Culter Allers flock of the McCosh family and the Watchknowe flock of the Warnock family.

The Lairds are sending 14 shearling ewes and seven shearling rams, with the Clarks contributing a further 14 shearling ewes and three shearling rams. The McCosh family’s export consists of seven shearling ewes and one shearling ram, while five shearling ewes will head to Switzerland from the Warnock family.

Commenting on the export Robert Laird of the Cambwell flock said the sale followed on from exports to Switzerland over the last few years sourced from across the UK and reflected the growing interest in the breed in Switzerland and Eastern Europe.

“The Swiss buyers are very clear in the type of sheep they are looking for, they want correct sheep with good carcasses and sharp, alert sheep. Importantly the sheep they buy also have to be either scrapie monitored or scrapie type one.

“They are also keen on performance figures, ideally wanting sheep in the top 10% of the breed.”

British Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates said the export confirmed the success of British Texels in Europe and was one of a number of exports taking place this year. “We continue to invite and host inward missions from a number of EU countries with potential buyers eager to source top British genetics.

“The relationship with the Swiss breeders has been built over a number of years, with UK breeders also visiting Switzerland during our 40th Anniversary last year. The Society have been instrumental in opening new markets for the breed which has also benefited the industry as a whole as other breeds often follow up with sales. We continue to lobby for new health certification for new and developing markets, primarily focusing on semen and embyros.

“Recent successes have resulted in certification for South America, in particular for embryos and semen to Brazil with a focus now on Uruguay. Our efforts are currently focused on supporting efforts from DEFRA UKECP for certification with New Zealand, which will open up a holy grail with demand for proven high performance genetics by NZ producers.

“The breed’s success in Europe following previous exports has driven demand further, with shipments to both existing and new breeders in a wide range of countries. The Texel’s adaptability is a key point for buyers, with the ability of Texels to thrive in a wide range of climates and farming systems making them well suited to the diverse nature of sheep farming across Europe and indeed the world.”

Mr Yates said the continued investment by British breeders in improving both type and performance in the breed was to be commended and had resulted in keen interest from across the globe. “Performance recording coupled with high levels of stockmanship continue to drive the breed forward and ensure British Texels are preferred choice for overseas buyers looking to improve flock productivity.”