International visitors from Uruguay, Chile and The Netherlands are heading to the UK to see British Texels as part of the breed society’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

A number of activities have been planned for the visitors when the celebrations commence today (Saturday, July 6) at Carlisle with the Textravaganza National Show, followed by a series of farm visits and technical workshops with SRUC and AB Europe.

At SRUC, research staff will demonstrate how cutting-edge technology, such as CT scanning, portable accumulation chambers (PACs) and feed intake monitors are being used to identify the most sustainable sheep that produce high-quality caracases to form the next generation of breeding stock.

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Chief executive of the Texel Sheep Society, John Yates said: “This will be particularly pertinent to the Uruguayan contingent as they have supported INIA, just as the Texel Sheep Society has supported SRUC, to jointly contribute to the Grass2Gas project. Both parties continue to collaborate to find globally-relevant solutions to enhance animal efficiency and mitigate methane production.

“During the visit to AB Europe, delegates will be able to see how advanced breeding technologies are used to fast-track genetic progress and enable the export of genetic material around the world. Meaning the progress made in British Texel genetics is influencing populations overseas.”

An example of this was the recent success of UK genetics in Paraguay, which saw a ewe lamb by Garngour Dunga set a new all-breeds Paraguayan female sheep record when sold in early June. A third share in a ewe lamb sold for for 31,200,000 Paraguayan Guarani, or £3414, which represents a full value of 98,280,000 (£10,242), to the breeder Ignacio Cazillo of Cabana La Sonada, who sold the share at the third Texel Fusion event.

“Having had the opportunity to see how British Texel genetics have been influencing the sheep industries of a number of countries, it will be great to welcome these overseas breeders to the UK to explore the breed here.

“UK Texel breeders have put a huge amount of effort and time in to developing the breed over the last 50 years, focussing on key commercial traits to maximise the benefits the breed can offer the UK industry,” he explained.

“Increasingly in recent years, this has been recognised by overseas breeders as they seek to improve productivity and sustainability within their own industries and they have sought out UK genetics to do so.

“The Society’s focus on genetic improvement through its texelplus service, including the recent introduction of economic indexes and genomic evaluations has enabled it to collaborate with scientists and breeders across the world on research projects.,” said Mr Yates.

The visit culminates with a round-up of Great British agriculture on display at the Great Yorkshire Show and social event at the Texel members’ reception.