Potential observed in the Beltex sheep breed with double musculature


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A Southland farming family has invested heavily in the Beltex sheep breed, believing it will be of “major benefit” to the New Zealand sheep industry.

Brent and Ann-Maree Robinson, and their son Michael, who operate a farm in Glenham, near Wyndham, paid $ 12,000 for a ram lamb last year at Beltex’s inaugural sale in Canterbury.

Last week they bought the second most expensive ram lamb for $ 21,000 at this year’s sale at Mt Somers, a 2-tooth ram for $ 11,500 and some Beltex ewes to help build their program. breeding.

The family are now preparing for their first sale of Beltex-cross ram lamb at Gore Exhibition Center next Tuesday, where they will offer Beltex-Texel, Beltex-Suffolk and Beltex-South Suffolk ram lambs.

The Beltex is a double muscled Texel sheep that arrived in the UK from Belgium in 1989.

No double-muscled Texels were imported into New Zealand along with European imports in the 1990s.

The breed was introduced to New Zealand by Beltex New Zealand, trained by former Invermay chief Dr Jock Allison and his wife Hilary, Mount Farmers Somers Blair and Sara Gallagher, and Canterbury-based Farm Advisor , John Tavendale and his wife Lynley.

The Beltex was the only terminal bull breed to have the ‘unique’ appearance of double musculature. Its characteristics meant it could create more meat per carcass, which would hopefully lead to higher incomes for farmers, Mr Robinson said.

The sheep farmers had done a “wonderful job” over the past 30 years of raising production, selling almost as many tonnes of meat as when the number of sheep was almost double, and a good job had also been done with it. growth rates.

He believed the only way forward now was to put more meat on individual lambs through strength training and higher yield.

A year ago, the Robinson family were commercial farmers, frustrated that they weren’t getting the results they thought they should have been with terminal bulls.

Initially, the foray into Beltex was solely in their own interest. But after seeing what the breed had done on their own farm, they decided to take it a step further.

It was up to the breeders to adapt the Beltex to New Zealand breeding. At the moment it was a “bit extreme” animal and it might have to adapt a bit to New Zealand conditions, he said.

The success of the breed depended on who bought the animals and the Robinson family took it very seriously.

The quality of the stock releases was “paramount” in their thoughts, he said.

Mr Robinson was very pleased with the “very good” ram lamb purchased at last week’s sale, which was held at the Gallagher family property in Rangiatea.

It was crucial that faults were kept out of the breeding program.

He was looking forward to next week’s sale, saying there had been a lot of interest, including from beyond Southland.

The Robinsons bought a Texel stud last year and bought another group of Texel sheep this year.

They also had partnerships with breeders in Suffolk and South Suffolk.

In last week’s sale, purebred ram lambs averaged $ 8,050, Beltex-Suffolk $ 2,050 and Beltex-Poll Dorset $ 1,690.

The most expensive ram lamb was bought by Sterl Roadley, of Maungaturoto, for $ 22,000, Dr Allison said.

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