This weekend marks the start of what is officially silly season for Taking Stock with a raft of sales on over the weekend and the first of our show coverage kicking off too.

On the sale front both Charolais and Blondes come under the hammer at Carlisle, with both breeds putting out strong catalogues of stock (more to come later on this), while Limousins trade at Brecon, Wales, and Irish Lims sell at Roscrea in Eire.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to get to any of these sales, but rest assured I’ve got the usual team of spies working overtime at the weekend to keep me up to speed with trade, so the highlights will be here.

The reason I can’t get to any of the sales is due to commitments at Newark and Notts Show, where I am judging the sheep interbreed groups. Newark traditionally marks the start of the show season for FW and this year will be no different, with full results and plenty of pictures appearing here and in the magazine.

After that we move on to Balmoral, Northern Ireland and a whole host of other events across the UK. On the judging front I’ll be tested at Herts and East of England where I have to place a variety of classes and breeds. The judges list for East of England reads like a who’s who of the pedigree world, with Hazel Fotheringham placing the Limousins, Philip Halhead the British Blues, Harry Emslie the commercial cattle, Adrian Ivory the Simmentals and Ian Millar the Charolais.

Across in the sheep lines I’ll be joined by Charles Sercombe placing the Chaollais, Anthony Glaves the Longwools and Terry Prentice will take on the interbreed classes.