Texel sires have demonstrated the breed’s ability to add value to flocks across the UK in the latest results from AHDB’s RamCompare project, with the breed providing 11 of the top 15 rams for carcase merit over the project’s duration from 2016-2020.

Seven of the top 10 rams for carcase merit across the project’s timespan were Texels as were seven of the top 10 of the rams used in the project’s latest research season, 2020.

Designed to provide an overarching index showing the genetic merit of sires used in commercial flocks, the carcase merit index combines EBVs for carcase weight, carcase conformation and carcase fat class, explains Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates.

“It gives the most complete assessment of a ram’s potential to influence their progeny. Texel rams score so well on this EBV because it reflects the breed’s acknowledged ability to improve carcase quality across a wide range of dam breeds in a diverse range of farming systems and environments,” he said.

Adding to the breed’s success in the five years of the project, three of the top five scoring rams across all breeding seasons (2016-2020) for days to slaughter EBV were Texels.

“Quicker finishing lambs are also more environmentally efficient, reducing the climate change impact of red meat production and helping provide a sustainable protein source by converting grass to energy dense protein.”

Breaking down the results further, Texels scored four of the top five rams for carcase weight in the 2020 breeding season and six of the top 10 rams for the same measure across all five breeding seasons.

In addition the breed provided three of the top five rams for carcase conformation across the five years the project has been running, Mr Yates said.

Latest figures from the project show six different breeds topped at least one of the leader tables, revealing how rams with key breeding traits can drive productivity and optimise flock profitability.

The research project using Beltex, Blue Texel, Charollais, Dorset, Hampshire Down, Meatlinc, Southdown, Suffolk and Texel, demonstrates how commercial producers can use specific estimated breeding values (EBVs) to identify rams with a high genetic potential to enhance those traits on which producers are paid.

Nominated performance-recorded rams from various terminal sire breeds are used on commercial farms across the UK. To date, this joint levy funded programme has recorded the performance of more than 26,000 lambs sired by 280 rams through artificial insemination (AI) and natural mating over five breeding seasons.

Latest results reveal a great spread of rams among the most recent lists of trait leaders and Signet breeding manager, Sam Boon, urges breeders to focus on those traits that deliver the greatest profit to their system and source recorded rams with the right EBVs to deliver them.

“Within the groups of high genetic merit sires used we have identified differences in progeny values worth £4-£6 per lamb, providing farmers with the opportunity to enhance flock profitability through careful ram selection. This equates to £1200-£1500 per ram during their working lifetime. Few rams can do it all; some will excel for carcase conformation, others for speed of finish. Producers should therefore evaluate their system and determine which sires have the potential to make the biggest financial impact.” Full results can be viewed online at www.ramcompare.com