For almost three decades Texel rams have played a pivotal role on the farm of Andrew Dobbs consistently producing superior lambs for the live market.
Andrew farms approximately 450 acres on the outskirts of Carrickfergus and runs a spring calving suckler cow herd alongside his commercial sheep flock of 220 ewes.
His ewe of choice is the popular suffolk cheviot mating which produces a milky female with excellent longevity.
Lambing commences mid February, and runs right through until the middle of April. All of the ewes are lambed down indoors, with the Texel lambs proving to be easily lambed and quick to get to their feet and suckle their dams. They are put out to grass as soon as possible post lambing, with the Texel lambs making good efficient use of the milk and grass available to them.
Andrew pays particular attention to good grassland management, with the ewes never short of a supply of quality forage. This ensures that the lambs do not require creep feeding, and they flourish on the milk and grass combination.
All of the lambs are sold through the live ring at Ballymena Mart with Andrew opting to run them into weights ranging 23-24 kilos. They are snapped up by repeat buyers including local butchers who have been impressed with the kill out and eating quality of Andrew’s Texel lambs. They also appreciate the full traceability and farm quality assurance that the Dobbs lambs offer.
A handful of ewe lambs are retained for flock replacements with Andrew using a combination of the dam’s performance, and visual appearance of the lamb as his key points for selection.
The future of the Texel ram looks secure at this Carrickfergus farm, with Andrew Dobbs keen to continue with the successful breeding formula he has tried and tested for many years now.
“Texel rams have added considerable value to the sheep enterprise as a whole, and my lambs are keenly bid for when at market. The breed offers many attributes to the commercial farmer, and I fully intend sticking with Texel for years to come.”
The National Show and Sale of Texels takes place at Ballymena Livestock Mart on 21st and 22nd August when 496 head will come under the hammer, representing Northern Ireland’s leading breeders. Judging is on Friday 21st at 1.45pm followed by sale of females at 7pm. The rams sell in two rings on the Saturday from 10.30am. For catalogues contact Ballymena Livestock Mart on 02825 633470.