Welcome to our farm – we farm 150 acres at just under 1000 ft on the Cotswold escarpment, between Cirencester and Gloucester, just 7 miles from Junction 11A of the M5. Stone walls surround most of the sloping fields, the scenery is spectacular, but the weather can be extremely harsh. Texel sheep thrive in these conditions and our stock always please their purchasers by growing on and working well.
Image: Miserden Texel ewes and lambs 2015
We produce top quality Texel Shearling rams and Ram lambs for commercial farmers, along with quality females for other breeders. Our aim is to produce rams with good growth rate, excellent conformation and a high percentage of muscle. These traits are then passed on to their progeny increasing profits for the commercial shepherd.
We are careful in our selection of stock rams, buying in ram lambs who offer us new bloodlines with correct conformation and good carcase quality.
Image: Miserden Texel Shearling Rams
RamCompare Update for the Blue Texel Sheep Society – December 2019
Commercial terminal sire crossbred lambs at Hutts Farm, August 2018
Established to find the most profitable terminal sires for UK lamb production, data is collected on nine partner farms – with a series of on-farm events explaining the role of genetics in ram selection delivered across the UK this summer.
Each year we receive over 200 ram nominations from which we select a team of 65-70 new sires. The project has now tested 276 rams from 11 breeds, the Blue Texel joined the project in 2017 and to date six different sires have been used. Progeny are assessed throughout their life, with abattoir data used to generate estimated breeding values (EBVs) for carcase weight, conformation, fat class and most recently, days to slaughter.
Signet’s Terminal Sire Evaluations are now completed on a monthly basis, with RamCompare data relating to lamb growth rate and ultrasound scanning feeding directly into the analysis; updating the EBVs of selected rams and their relatives.
EBVs for abattoir-derived traits are updated annually, with tables showing the leading breeding lines available at the start of the ram selling season. The latest results can be found at www.ramcompare.com
Abattoir activity remains a vital part of our data collection and is improving our understanding of the relationship between measurements taken on the live animal (eight-week weight, scan weight, ultrasound muscle and fat depth) and those collected when lambs are slaughtered, the traits on which farmers are paid.
Each year, 12 lambs are selected from each progeny group to assess primal yield and tenderness. The breeding values generated from this data highlight our ability to change the yield of meat within the carcase and our ability to enhance tenderness.
Highlights for the Blue Texel breed
Over the last two years around 400 Blue Texel sired lambs have been recorded from five sires:
Sue and Aubrey Andrews of the Miserden flock have presented three rams on test to date. Two were used as artificial insemination sires and one for use as a natural service ram this year.
o Miserden Vinnie, bred by Sue and Aubrey Andrews, produced 50 progeny
· Their natural service ram is being used at Duncan Nelless’ farm in Northumberland with progeny awaited next season.
WWhat have we learnt and what do we want to know?
The project has done a great job of enhancing our understanding of traits measured on farm and at the abattoir, highlighting which on-farm traits are good indicators of value to the commercial producer and which carcase attributes may be better assessed directly using CT scanning or abattoir data.
The project clearly shows the variation seen in the value of sires. Extra value worth £3-£5/lamb – or £600-£800/sire is commonly seen on farms, with the overall RamCompare breeding index doing a great job in highlighting the highest value animals.
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