Texel rams have again led the way in the latest results from AHDB’s RamCompare project, with the breed providing the top five ranked tups for overall carcase merit in each of the project’s three breeding seasons (2016-2018).

The project which trialled the progeny from five terminal breeds to include the Charollais, Hampshire Down, Meatlinc, Suffolk and Texel, also saw the latter produce seven of the top 10 rams for overall carcase merit in the same period.

“The carcase merit index combines EBVs for carcase weight, carcase conformation and carcase fat class, providing an overview of the genetic merit of sires used in typical commercial flocks," explained Peter Mitchell, the society's breed development committee chairman.

“As such it is the most complete measure of a ram’s potential to influence their progeny. Having Texels ranking so well on this overall measure is further proof of the breed’s well recognised ability to add value to prime lamb production across the UK,” he added.

The most recent season’s results point a positive picture for Texel sires, with two of the top three rams for overall carcase merit being Texels and the breed also claiming six of the top 10 places in the 2018 season.

Topping the rankings of sires used from 2016-2018 was Roxburgh Shotgun Willie, a ram bred by John Elliot and owned by the Prince family, Derbyshire. He led the way with a breeding index of 9.64 – more than two points ahead of his nearest rival, another Texel in the form of PAP1501802 from Alwyn Phillips’ Penygelli flock. He boasts a breeding index of 7.39.

Close behind in third spot with an index of 7.28 was PRH1500573 from the Handbank flock of the Payne family, with another from the same breeders, Hanbank Super Nova, taking fourth spot with an index of 7.00.

Fifth place in the 2016-2018 rankings went to Gaynes Major, bred by Gaynes Park Farm and owned by Trinidad Investments. He has an index of 6.99.

Also in the top 10 are HME1501742 from Matt Hobbs with an index of 6.52 and Arkle Sandiagio bred by the Wilkinson family and owned by the Prince family. He has an index of 5.77. A further three rams also rank inside the top 15 sires.

Meanwhile, leading the rankings for sires used in the 2017-18 breeding season was Handbank Super Nova, with Arkle Sandiago taking third and Boghouse Ultra Muscle, bred by Kenny Johnstone and owned by Alwyn Phillips, in fourth with an index of 5.64.

In the individual traits, Texel rams again performed well, with Handbak Super Nova topping the rankings for sires used in 2018 and between 2016 and 2018 for muscle depth with his value being more than 50 points ahead of his nearest rival for rams used across the three years and more than 60 points up on the second placed tup in the 2018 listings.

Garngour Nijinksy also fared well, taking second in the 2018 sire listings and fourth in the 2016-18 rankings with a value of 149. He was bred by the Clark family and is owned by Claybury Texels.

Second spot in the 2016-18 rankings for scan weight went to Beeford Warrior with a value of 134, just six points behind the first placed ram. He was bred by SJ Curtis and is owned by EA and L Jackson.

Texels also outperformed other breeds when it came to haunch weight, demonstrating the breed’s ability to add value in high value cuts. Topping the listings here was JER1505286 from the Jackson family, with four of the top five ranking rams here being Texels.

And the breed also performed well on proxy measures for eating quality, with two Texel rams making the top three for shear force. These were Matt Hobb’s HME1501742 and Alwyn Phillips’ PAP1501802 with values of 147 and 141, respectively. The top ranking ram here had a value of 149.