15 August 1997

Premium for Texel lamb

SHEEP producers using pedigree Texel rams on their ewe flock can now sell finished lambs at a premium.

The scheme, Certified Texel Producers, aims to secure a premium for Texel or Texel cross lambs.

Lambs which are at least 50% Texel, and meet E or U, 2 or 3L and 3H specifications will be quality marked, according to scheme manager Caldwell McCracken.

"Texel lamb commands a premium of about 10% above other sheepmeat on the Continent. We hope to take advantage of that."

Mr McCracken says that the 10% premium would be split equally between producer, abattoir and the scheme. "We will not be procuring lambs, but are aiming to set up partnerships with abattoirs. They will contact us when Texel lambs are processed, which will be branded as Texel lamb by the MLC. We will pay producers for the lambs – and for those which fall out with the standards. The lambs will then be sold on to the abattoir at a premium," he says.

Membership of the scheme costs £50 a year, and this is deducted from the first cheque sent to producers. According to Mr McCracken, throughput in the first year is expected to be 50,000 lambs.n