Sheep farmers Peter Williams and Bedwyr Jones are the first to bring the ‘fat tailed’ Damara breed into the UK.
Mr Williams, who farms in Anglesey, saw the breed when working on a 30,000 sheep farm in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. He has now teamed up with Snowdonia farmer Mr Jones to bring the breed to the UK after spotting a gap in the market for selling speciality lamb to ethnic minorities in the UK.
They have been supported through the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Wales, which provides funding and guidance for developing new ideas and projects on farms.
Frozen embryos conceived naturally in New South Wales before being frozen, transported and then defrosted in readiness for embryo transplant, have already produced six healthy pure-bred Damara lambs – three ram lambs and three ewe lambs.
Close on their heels are the cross-bred lambs, the frozen semen having been artificially inseminated into a number of the pair’s flock of mainly Texel, Lleyn and Romney cross ewes last December. More than 50 ewes were successfully impregnated and a 75 per cent-plus success rate has already resulting in more than 65 healthy lambs, with more to come.
Mr Williams says: “There are many types of ‘fat tailed’ sheep, not surprisingly their fat is deposited largely in their tails, but all are renowned for their lean, distinctive tasting meat which I knew from my experience of working overseas, is particularly popular among ethnic communities.
“We are optimistic that we can now increase numbers steadily, see how they progress and then start to set up our supply outlets, both directly and through wholesale buyers.”