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24th January 2012

British Texel breeders drive towards increased loin muscling

Commercial sheep farmers using recorded Texel sires to produce prime lambs will see an increase in the lean meat yields in the most expensive primal loin cuts in their lambs thanks to some recent adjustments to the Signet Texel index.

The Society’s Performance Recorded Texel Committee (PRT) asked Signet to review the weightings within the Texel index due to a very small number of sheep with low Muscle Depth EBVs appearing higher than expected within the overall ranking of Texel sheep.

As a result of this Signet has reviewed the weightings within the index to establish whether greater influence could be placed on muscle depth EBV without having a detrimental effect on the other growth and carcass traits.

The previous breeding index was targeted at optimising meat yields in the carcasses of Texel sired lambs. Penalties also continue to be applied to animals with low fat depth EBVs to ensure sires are not rewarded for being over lean, further rewards are given to animals with superior gigot EBVs to balance the weightings of the index for this important terminal sire.

In adjusting the index Signet will be maintaining these objectives, but placing a much higher weighting on the Muscle Depth EBV.

Commenting on the changes to the index British Texel Sheep Society chief executive John Yates said it was important to continually review the Signet Texel index in line with industry needs. “As a breed we have to reflect and respond to commercial sheep farmers needs. Texels naturally have a high meat to bone ratio, especially within the loin area and the new index will help breeders ensure this remains the case while also continuing the massive improvements in growth achieved by recorded flocks.”

At an overall population level the new index has a relatively small impact, increasing muscling across the loin with little impact on other traits, adds Signet breeding services manager Sam Boon. “This will enable breeders to continue to make major gains in the economically important carcass and meat yield traits. However, there will be some significant changes to the indices of individual animals.”

The table below shows the type of changes in index breeders can expect. The two high Muscle Depth EBV rams have seen big increases in their indexes, whilst Rams E and F, with low Muscle Depth EBVs will see decreases in their indexes.

Ram

8 Week Weight EBV

Scan Weight EBV

Muscle Depth EBV

Fat Depth EBV

CT Lean Weight EBV

CT Fat Weight EBV

CT Gigot EBV

Current Index

New Index

 

Ram A

5.09

10.26

6.54

-0.30

3.42

0.88

4.54

325

410

Biggest riser

Ram B

7.57

15.23

3.04

0.26

4.58

2.09

7.44

408

410

 

Ram C

4.37

12.94

0.37

0.65

3.12

1.66

8.73

314

281

Faller

Ram D

2.57

3.79

-1.71

-0.22

1.48

0.67

0.78

163

117

Biggest faller



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