All News

Controlling Internal parasites in your Texel Flock

Worms are a major threat to the health and performance of lambs and anthelmintics (wormers) are an essential part of good worm control. However, over recent years the sheep industry in the UK has become increasingly dependent on these relatively cheap products, and their frequent use (and sometimes misuse) has led to the development of resistance in the worm population.

SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) was formed to develop strategies for parasite control in sheep. The latest SCOPS guidelines are:

  • Quarantine treatments – yard, treat (drench with monepantel and use injectable moxidectin), quarantine for three weeks on pasture which has already had sheep on this year
  • Always administer drenches correctly and at the right dose rate
  • Test for resistance
  • Look at your control strategy
  • Reduce dependence on anthelmintics where possible
  • Try to use anthelmintics only when necessary
  • Select the most appropriate anthelmintic
  • Preserve susceptible worms

EBLEX have a useful guide available and Texel members are encouraged to make best use of the information in the download.

Beef & Sheep Parasite Control Guide

NSA have reported that Scabivax supplies will be very tight

Intervet Schering Plough, (ISP) the makers of orf vaccine Scabivax are reporting that recent batches of the vaccine have not met approved specification levels and as a result it is very unlikely that sheep farmers will have access to the vaccine this coming season. ISP have assured NSA that they are doing all they can to ensure the quickest possible return of supply.

Following on from abortion vaccine supply issues last autumn, this latest vaccine issue demonstrates the challenges facing manufacturers of vaccines and the serious consequences it can have for sheep farmers. ISP have issued the following information which may be of use in terms of trying to deal with orf in the absence of vaccine. Concerned members should also contact their vet for further advice.

Alternative orf control strategies - Sheep farmers concerned about an orf problem in their flock should contact their vet for appropriate disease control advice. Steps that farmers can take to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks:

  • Orf is a virus that spreads via contact with infected material. The virus requires a break in the skin to infect an animal, so good hygiene and preventing access to rough pasture (e.g. grazing areas with thistles) will help.

  • Keep lambing areas clean, dry and well bedded. Plenty of bedding reduces the chance of animals coming into contact with infected scabs. Wet conditions also predispose sheep to skin traumas, which will allow the virus to enter the body.

  • Any infected ewes or lambs should be isolated immediately. This will reduce the risk of disease spread.

  • Any affected lambs, or lambs from badly affected ewes, should be managed, if possible, in a manor that helps to reduce pain and discomfort. Ill animals should also be fed artificially, paying scrupulous attention to hygiene of teats, bottles and utensils. Astringents such as crystal violet dressings may be useful to speed up natural recovery.

  • Orf is a self-limiting disease, so if secondary bacterial infections are controlled – for example, with the use of Engemycin Spray – natural healing should occur in 24 to 28 days.

Share This Post:

Calling Young Breeders IN WALES

The Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS) has been extended for 12 months with almost £1.8 million available to new entrants.

Three areas are available for applications: a one off grant payment for capital expenses incurred in setting-up as head of holding; access to a dedicated young entrants’ business enabler service for advice on training, knowledge transfer and joint venture opportunities; and access to funded mentoring services from established farmers.

Expressions of interest are being accepted now, with applications open from 1st September 2014.

Contact Paul McCullough on 03000 622175 or

Information courtesy of NSA.

Share This Post:

British Texel semen heads South to a new expanding industry

The long awaited Protocols allowing the export of UK ovine genetics to Brazil were agreed in June last year, taking many in Industry by surprise.

Although the British Texel Society had been lobbying persistently over the last 5 years for the trade health certificate, “It couldn’t have come soon enough” says John Yates Chief Executive of the Society, adding “We have seen the value of trading British Genetics with Brazil for some time and have been applying pressure to get an agreed certificate, particular praise and thanks must go to Andrew Taylor of UKECP along with Denise Crawshaw Pellin from the British Consulate- General. Negotiations had been going on for years and at times it seemed that an agreement would never be reached, we are now extremely pleased to be able to fulfil the massive demand from the Brazilian Industry for British Texel, with what will be the largest export of Pedigree sheep semen from a single breed in one consignment from the UK”.

Texel Ram Lamb Garngour Rio from Scotland one of the rams that had semen collected for export
Texel Ram Lamb Garngour Rio from Scotland one of the rams that had semen collected for export

Andrew Taylor, Veterinary Director for the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), the DEFRA/industry partnership that works together to establish export market priorities and to develop export health certificates for UK livestock and livestock products, including live animals, germplasm and meat, added, “It’s great to see the success of the partnership in developing certification for these valuable markets giving the opportunity to add commercial value to the UK Industry. We are extremely pleased to have helped with this large export consignment and hope that many more will follow”.

The Protocols were strict –allowing only flocks of the highest health status. Close examination revealed that only a tiny minority of flocks were eligible for export.

Tatiana Santos, Trade Development Office Manager for United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI). After many years without being able to export ovine semen to Brazil we have now secured a health certificate that will open a profitable market for UK breeders. Brazil has recently received the first shipment of sheep semen. We are pleased with the outcome and will continue working to ensure the future success of UK exports to the Brazilian Sheep and Goat Industry.

Marcio Aguinsky, representing a number of breeders from the Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil, where 4 of the 18 million sheep that the Brazilian Industry comprises originate, arrived in August last year with the task of finding good genestock from the Texel, Suffolk and Hampshire breeds. He added that “Texels are in big demand in Brazil especially in the South where the climate is temperate, the Brazilian Industry is expanding and high genetic merit stock from a selection of fast growing terminal sire breeds will be in demand”.

The eight rams selected by the Brazilians had semen collected at the export freezing centre. After four weeks of isolation and numerous tests and inspections, semen collection and freezing was completed in early 2011. A series of post collection tests and the collating of seemingly endless documentation followed, culminating in the largest export and first for decades of UK sheep semen to Brazil in March, just eight months from the granting of the protocols.

Denise Crawshaw Pellin, Trade Development Manager for the British Consulate – General, Rio Grande Do Sul, commented, “After many years without being able to import ovine genetics from the UK, we are delighted that the Health Certificate was finally agreed between DEFRA and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. A significant order for Texel semen has recently arrived in Brazil and we see the British participation at FEINCO, from March 21 to 25 in Sao Paulo, as an excellent opportunity to showcase the UK sheep industry and strengthen the links with Brazilian breeders for additional business”

John Yates added that “this really is something to shout about for the Industry, exporting is never an easy task, especially to high health specification, but to export in volume and with the high level of collaboration achieved at both Industry and Government Veterinary Department level, the export really speaks for itself. We have been very pleased to be able to develop trade for the British Sheep Industry. British Texels are gaining popularity from around the world, exports to Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and Guyana has also been achieved over the last 12 months, Brazil is a great addition to the Texel export trade”.

It is hoped that the consignment of some 2500 straws with a value of £80,000, will be the first of many to Brazil. Cambwell Rankin a stock sire at the Cambwell flock, who is proving a consistent female breeder, Teiglum Rembrandt and Garngour Rio and three rams from Claybury, Reality, Regatta and Roscoe provided the Texel consignment.

Brazilian breeders are looking for British Texel with breed character with particular emphasis on growth and muscle depth. Rembrandt and Rio in particular have proved popular due to their 316 and 314 Sire Index (top 5% for the breed) and Rio is within top 1% of the breed for scan weight/ growth, and Rembrandt in Top 5%.

Texels are already very popular in the South of Brazil.

Note: The BTS are not the exporters, having assisted in the promotion and development of the health certificates, to develop the trade between members from Brastex (Brazilian Equiv to BTS) and the BTS members. The rams were selected by the Brazilian, Marcio Aguinsky. UK flocks had to have been in the SMS for at least 7 years along with many other health restrictions.

Share This Post:

Copper – do you know if you are inadvertently feeding it?

There is increasing concern about a number of trace element supplements containing copper and which can be sold by anyone as they are classified AVM-GSL (Authorised veterinary medicine – general sales list.) There are now apparently several supplements available off the shelf which contain levels of copper and have the potential to lead to copper toxicity.

It is known that copper requirements and susceptibility to toxicity vary enormously between sheep breeds with some continental breeds particularly sensitive. The concern is that with no regulation and no requirement for advice before these products can be purchased and used by farmers, there is significant risk of inappropriate use and hence an increased risk of copper toxicity on a flock scale. There have already been cases of adverse reactions reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

The message is to read labels very carefully and be very wary of products containing copper unless there is a known copper deficiency issue in the flock.

Press release courtesy of NSA.

Share This Post:

British Texel exhibits draw in the crowds, at the prestigious Paris Show (SIA)

The Society continued their EU promotion of British Texel by attending the 48th Paris International Agricultural Show, the annual meeting place for the farmers and breeders from the world of agriculture. Every year the general agricultural competition for animals is one of the main events of the show. Attracting over 1,100 commercial exhibitors from 34 countries. 1,400 breeders with 7 species and 360 breeds, with a total of 3,512 animals represented, all witnessed by 652, 189 visitors, a bonanza of a show nothing that the UK has to compare.

Paris Show

British Texel promotions assisted the French team at the “L’Agneau St George stand”, the British brand that Eblex support for the promotion of English lamb. The French promotional team led by the very experienced Remi Fourrier have successfully developed a recognised brand that French consumers and retailers relate to.

Paris Show

British Texels in the form of two excellent Hogget’s and two Border Leicester’s along with Hereford cattle were the main live exhibits on the stand, although the main purpose of the “St George” brand promotion is to develop relationships between the processing industry and develop the brand/product further into the French retail sector. The interest in the live exhibits from the wider public was intense, with plenty also attracted to the main plasma screen which screened the Texel promotional video “British Texel-something for everybody” along with the “St George” product promotional video.

French Texel administration is by OSON: “organisation de sélection ovine (sheep) du Nord”. It has government accreditation as the selection organisation of both the French Texel and Ille De France Breeds, and has an artificial insemination centre and an individual trial station. The office, progeny test station and AI centre are located at Verdilly, between Paris and Reims.

Paris Show

French Texel breeders are also beginning to visit the UK, with a recent visit in 2010 by Perry Christophe of the Harcingny (02) flock to the RUAS Balmoral 2010. Christophe is pictured at the Paris event, along with the OSON President, Technical Director and Gordon Gray. Christophe was extremely successful at SIA 2011 having been awarded the Champions prize for his two shear ram (25506090037), winning the 1st prize for wool and 1st prize meat section, (pictured).

Share This Post:

2011 EBLEX Improved Texel Flock Award

Many congratulations to the 2011 winners of the EBLEX improved Texel flock award. This annual award made by EBLEX BRP is based on Signet data indicating flocks which have made the greatest genetic improvement over the past 12 months. The 2011 awards go to...

Winner: Norman J Johnson - Falicon Farm, Longridge (FALICON – JNF)
Runner up; S & S Richardson - Mount Pleasant Farm, Barnsley (STONEBRIDGE – RSS)
Runner up: J M & C E Mitchell - Northway Court Cottage, Tewkesbury (AVON VALE – MQZ)

Share This Post:


Subscribe to RSS - All News