Texels prove worth at Bindi Bindi

Rebecca TurnerThe West Australian

When it comes to making money in the prime lamb industry, a high-yielding carcase will always provide a better return over the hooks than a low-yielding one.

It is achieving a high carcase yield that puts the Texel breed of sheep ahead of its peers, most evident in its long history of success in carcase competitions around Australia.

Te Rakau Texel stud owners Robert and Maria Wood have been breeding Texel sheep for more than 20 years on their property in Bindi Bindi.

A recent success for the couple was the Reserve Champion Texel ram award at the 2015 Perth Royal Show for Te Rakau 14S110, which was in the ram under one-and-a-half years class.

Mrs Wood said the ram had similar breeding to that of Te Rakau 92724, which was awarded Supreme Champion Texel at the 2010 ASBA Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, Victoria.

"Prior to selling this ram we sold some of his semen to New Zealand, which was bought by the Southern Districts Texel Association and distributed to its breeders," she said.

The Southern Districts Texel Association has since nominated the sire in the 2014-15 New Zealand Beef and Lamb Genetics Central Progeny Test, where he is listed as third out of the nation's top 20 dual purpose rams for meat and growth.

The ram is listed as having a meat and growth index value of $4.27, with a growth index of $2.46 and a meat value index of $1.80.

The ram is also listed with an Estimated Breeding Value weaning weight of 2.16kg, worm faecal egg count of -26.1per cent, eye muscle area of 0.13sqcm and dressing percentage of 0.51 per cent.

Mrs Wood said turning off lambs in the fastest time with the greatest value was what the New Zealand Central Progeny Test was about.

"Two rams from each breed society in New Zealand are nominated every year, with all the rams data linked through the Sire Improvement Ltd-Advanced Central Evaluation index," she said.

SIL-ACE is New Zealand's national across-flock and across-breed analysis to identify the best rams for economic traits, including lamb growth and meat yield.

It is a remarkable achievement that after only two breeding seasons and with few relations in the New Zealand flock, Te Rakau 92724 is ranked 40 in the SIL-ACE terminal sire performance index, with a ranking of ninth for growth.

It is this performance that meant Te Rakau 92724 was invited to take part in the 2014-15 New Zealand Beef and Lamb Genetics CPT.

A total of 14 of the top 20 dual-purpose rams tested for meat and growth in the NZ CPT during 2014-15 had Texel breeding.

Mrs Wood said Texels were the most used prime lamb sires in the UK and the most used pure-bred terminal sires in New Zealand.

She said the breed had proved itself to have high-yielding carcases.

While the Woods have participated in Australia's Lambplan index, they are now using SIL-ACE.

Mr Wood said the feedback from clients using their Te Rakau rams was they were breeding very consistent lines of lambs.

"We have sold rams all over Australia, including to client Andy Roberts of Hillside Texels in Cootamundra, New South Wales, who said he has never seen a bloodline to put its stamp so strongly on his stock," he said.

Mrs Wood said the Texel breed was renowned for producing consistent, good early-maturing lambs.

"It is easy to talk about the first 20 per cent of lambs turned off each year and even the second 20 per cent, but if the rest of your lambs need to stay on farm over summer to finish, this has a big cost implication," she said.

"We know from the feedback we are getting from our clients that they do finish well.

"The Texel breed does pay when it comes to breeding and feeding, you can get an edge."

Mr Wood said consistency was the key when it came to their breeding aims at Te Rakau.

He said Te Rakau rams bred true to type.

"They are like peas in a pod, with their consistent carcase traits integrated through the whole flock," he said.

The Woods say their success in carcase competitions and the show ring comes down to them integrating the best Texel breeding available in the UK into their flock from 2008.

In 2008, Te Rakau bought three rams and two ewes imported as embryos through Innovis Genetics of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The rams were registered as Te Rakau 136/04, Te Rakau 5830/04 and Te Rakau 827/04.

Their sire is HMK 95037 PI (2) Kirtle Banker, which was bred by Robin Hope, a respected Texel breeder in the UK.

Te Rakau's 2010 ASBA Sheep and Wool Show Bendigo Supreme Champion Texel, Te Rakau 92724, is a result of introducing this bloodline.

With the Moora British and Australasian Breeds Sale no longer running, the Woods are now using an on-farm private method of selling rams.

This year's ram sale team includes Te Rakau 14S110.

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