The Northern Ireland Texel Sheep Breeders Club will be holding their open night on Friday, 2nd August 2019 at the farm of Danny and Darren McKay, 165 Knockan Road, Rathkenny, BT43 7LP.
The McKay family currently farm 540 acres carrying 400 head of cattle including 140 milk cows alongside 150 commercial ewes and 20 purebred Texel ewes.
The Rohan and Rowandale Texel Flocks were established in 2005 and 2006 respectively, inspired by Danny’s experience of the Texel ram as a terminal sire in his commercial flock. Having purchased a Texel ram from John Currie’s Tullagh Flock and impressed with the lambs produced, Danny decided to branch into pedigree production. Over the last number of years both flocks have made their mark not only locally but in Lanark and Worcester for selling rams to the pedigree market. The Tullagh Flock was the solid foundation from which the Rohan and Rowandale Flocks were built, with the purchase of Tullagh Legend as their first sire, producing great females and the sire of Rowandale Rocky sold in 2010 for 14,000gns at Lanark. The McKay family also believe in large investment in the Rohan and Rowandale females. Danny says: “We also sell our surplus gimmers with our first success in 2011 with taking the Supreme Champion at our Club sale in Enniskillen and selling to Maineview for 1200gns.” The growth of demand for Rohan and Rowandale females has gone from strength to strength since, with another Supreme Champion achievement at Ballymena Premier in 2014 selling to 4000gns to Paul and Baillie O’Connor, Drumgooland along with her penmate selling at 2200gns to Adrian Liggett, Corbo. 2014 was a superb year for the McKay’s with other noteable achievements of 3rd place with a gimmer at Lanark selling to local breeder Patrick Donnelly, Donrho Texels and taking Female Champion at Balmoral Club sale with a gimmer selling to 1500gns to Louise Breen Fourtres Flock.
The demand for females has become such that the McKay’s have established their own annual gimmer sale at the end of November with Darren pointing out that their ‘best gimmers in 2018 sold to Tom Kenny for 1600gns followed by other top prices of 1200gns and 1020gns’.
Danny and Darren keep their flocks small, flushing the crème de the crème of the flock, approximately 10 to 12 of their best each year at the beginning of September. Danny says: “This gives us a good bunch of strong lambs the best of which are sold at Lanark and Worcester and the rest at local sales for commercial buyers.” The McKay’s keep the late born lambs to run over as shearlings. The flushing programme also allows the McKay’s to regularly change the genetics within the flock, keeping ahead for demand of new blood lines in a competitive market. In 2018 Danny and Darren jointly purchased two rams, Silverhill Bush Tucker (15000gns) and Auldhouseburn Bobby Dazzler (4800gns).
Danny explains: “Both these rams are full of breed character, with good tops and carcass to breed for the commercial trade and hopefully that special one for the pedigree breeding.”
The Open Night gives pedigree and commercial breeders the opportunity for a tour of the Rohan and Rowandale Flocks and a presale preview of this year’s Silverhill Bush Tucker and Auldhousebrn Bobby Dazzler progeny. Also the evening promises the usual stockjudging competition, various stalls and business stands, bouncy castle and charity auction in aid of Charis and OcuMel UK. Special thanks goes to Steven McKay, DSB Developments Ltd for sponsoring the event.
Why not join the Club for a night of good fun prior to the busy sales season kicking off with Rathfriland on 26th August and the NI National Show and Sale one day event on 28th August.