The competition will be broken up into four age categories – those who are 11 years and under, 12 to 14 years, 15 to 17 years and 18 to 21 years on 1 April 2022.
The winner of each section will get a €250 voucher to spend on a sheep of their choice.
Following this, the four section winners will be invited to a short interview on Friday evening, 12 August, in Blessington Mart which coincides with this year’s premier show and sale . An overall winner will then be chosen, with an extra €250 awarded. This means one lucky young breeder will be in with a chance of receiving a €500 voucher to spend on a ewe or ram of their choice at this year’s premier sale, which takes place on 12 and 13 August in Blessington, Co Wicklow.
Why you should add Texel sheep to your flock
In recent years, the popularity of Texel sheep has skyrocketed, propelling the breed to the top of the pedigree ladder and into being a highly sought-after commodity for commercial breeders also. This sudden rise has left some wondering what makes the Texel more appealing to many breeders in comparison with its counterparts.
There are numerous reasons which Texel breeders such as myself cite in terms of their love for the Texel breed, and a number of these are backed up by statistics such as prices from sales and high performance in Sheep Ireland genetic evaluations.
In my own experience, Texel lambs have proven to be great sellers as replacement ewes and rams to commercial flocks.
The size, prolifacy, docile nature and style of Texel sheep seem to be characteristics which many commercial breeders wish to pass on to their flocks. Those which do not make the grade as replacements can also be brought to high weights much quicker and more easily than most other breeds in order to be sold as factory lambs due to their high growth rates and ability to thrive without special treatment or feeding regimes.
Although I personally do feed my lambs and ewes with concentrates, I have seen some systems in which grass-fed Texels can still thrive to a reasonable standard, which would be much harder to achieve with other breeds run on a similar system.
Not only do Texels appeal to the commercial market, they are a great breed to choose when entering the pedigree circuit. There is a great market for purebred Texel sheep.
There is a huge selection of bloodlines and sheep from different flocks available, which cater to the needs and tastes of any breeder. This also means that there are a huge number of breeders that your own stock could be sold to.
When getting started as a pedigree flock, new breeders will soon notice how helpful the established breeders in the society are in terms of offering advice on breeding, selection of stock, preparation for shows and sales, etc. This is of huge importance as it means that new breeders will not fall behind and lose out on account of a lack of information from a pedigree perspective.
The statistics which exist around Texel sheep also prove their worth as an addition to the flock of any farmer or breeder, whether commercial or pedigree. Firstly, Texel sheep consistently achieve higher prices than other breeds both at interbreed and single breed sales.
At last year’s Sheep Ireland ram sale, the highest-priced Texel achieved a price of €3,300 compared to the highest-priced Suffolk which achieved a price of €1,220. The average prices of Texels in this sale were also much higher than that of many other breeds.
Butchers and factory buyers are also prepared to pay higher prices for commercial Texel lambs due to their good carcase conformation and kill-out weights, making them ideal for meat production.
This is also the case for cast ewes from Texel flocks meaning that there is still a market for your sheep once they have served their purpose of producing lambs within the flock.
In conclusion, I believe that Texel sheep are a great option to consider when venturing into sheep production for either the pedigree or commercial market.
– Luke Walsh