Editorial in Northern Farmer – June 2018

Monday 4th June 2018

The Beltex Sheep Society has a membership of 800 and continues to grow – the society deals with registrations and promotes the breed with the production of a year book and members directory. Social media is used to promote the breed both on facebook and twitter with regular updates on shows and sales whilst also reporting on the commercial aspects of the breed. The Beltex breed has large pedigree classes at all major shows and Beltex x butchers lambs have had significant success at the major summer and winter primestock shows.

Due to the high heritability of the double muscling traits of the breed Beltex rams have the ability to pass these characteristics on to commercial offspring. The Beltex sired lambs are born with ease and are thrifty. The finished lambs yield a high killing-out percentage and a carcass with excellent conformation, good eye muscle with a well fleshed loin.

The ultimate success of any terminal sire breed is the quality and demand of the cross bred lambs in the commercial primestock market. The Beltex has become a popular choice of terminal sire, there is strong demand for not only the premium Beltex cross lambs from Continental Ewes, but also from Mule and Half-bred ewes which has significantly increased as exporters, wholesalers and retail butchers compete strongly for the premium grade carcassess. Processors supplying supermarkets are also keen to purchase commercially bred Beltex sired lambs due to the breeds ability to considerably improve conformation when crossed with both lowland and hill type commercial ewes.

Beltex lambs always catch the eye of buyers looking for lambs with shape which will yield a high percentage of meat from the carcases. Competition to buy in the live auction regularly produces premiums from 20p – 50p per kg (£8 to £20 per lamb) over the market and country averages on the day.

The future for the Beltex breed looks strong with the membership growing year on year and sales attracting new prime lamb producers who want to produce Beltex x lambs to achieve substantial premiums both for export and home market lamb.