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Jimmy Douglas buys record breaking lamb

 

Jimmy DouglasA Texel lamb shocked the agriculture world after selling for the astronomical sum at a livestock auction in Scotland.

The sale broke the last UK record of around £134,000 for a Texel tup - or ram - in 2002 and even the world record for a sheep in Australia in the 1980s.

But the lamb could make its new owner a good return, and go on to be worth millions after selling his progeny around the world.

The sheep was sold by Graham Morrison for 220,000 guineas - or £231,000 - at the Scottish National Texel Sale at Lanark Market on Thursday.

The February-born tup lamb, bred by embryo transfer, is the offspring of one of the breed’s leading tups, Kelso Oxygen, and a champion ewe, Knock Magnum.

It was bought by breeder Jimmy Douglas.  Mr Douglas, of Fraserburgh’s Woodhead of Cairness Farm, said: “He’s as good a Texel sheep as I have seen. He’s just got such a great body and a good strong back.”

Mr Douglas, who has 100 Texel ewes in the flock he set up in 2001, said his new lamb would be used to breed with the female sheep born to another of his top Texels, Clola Marksman.

It is thought that the purchase was funded, in part, by an exceptional good trade for his Suffolk Ram's in Shrewsbury & Edinburgh

John Yates, Chief Executive of the Texel Sheep Society, said the industry was shocked by the high price.

However he said the buyer would earn more over the long run by breeding, after selling the semen around the world.

Tophill Joe, the country's previously most expensive ram at £128,000, is thought to have earned his owners more than £1 million in five years.

"Most people would see it as a ridiculous price for a sheep but, for a sheep breeder, it is an investment," he said.

Mr Yates explained that Deveronvale Perfection not only has the right parentage but "looks good". Most importantly, the width of his loin, the muscle that runs up the back of the sheep and makes lamb chops, is a good size.

Texels are currently the most popular sheep for breeding in the UK because of the quality of the meat, which is another reason for the high price.

"Genetic and livestock breeding is all about uniqueness so if there is an animal with the right looks and the right pedigree you can be sure of a good return," he added.

The embryo transfer technique which produced Deveronvale Perfection saw multiple embryos from the best ewe extracted, and then artificially inseminated and transplanted into another ewe. This ensures the only the best bloodlines are bred from.

Jonathan Long, Livestock Editor at Farmers Weekly, said breeding is becoming more selective and prices could become even more expensive in the future.

"I know it seems like a lot to pay for a sheep and in some ways it is, but we are talking about the top end of pedigree breeding and the potential to make millions."

 

 

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017