With a lift in the average prices paid for virtually all breeds and a top bid of 2000gns, ram sellers hoped the trade at the first of the season’s multi-breed rams sales held at Builth Wells this week was setting an upbeat trend for the coming autumn.

 

Buyers were certainly choosey, but the air of confidence underpinning the sheep sector encouraged generous bidding and good competition among bidders for the best rams.

 

Charollais breeders Charles and Valerie Marwood achieved the top price of 2000gns with a shearling ram from their Foulrice flock at York. The ram, by the Irish-bred sire Ballynoe House Isaac, was one of a large consignment from the Marwoods who brought 16 shearlings and three ram lambs to the sale.

 

“He’s a ram that’s got that something extra. Plenty of shape and a very good growth rate but a ram with that all important character and style that makes him stand out as a breeder’s ram,” said Charles Marwood.

 

The price brought the Foulrice average up to £740 compared with £650 last year.

 

“The benefit of the Hybu Cig Cymru Elite (HCC) performance ram scheme – which pays up to a maximum of £400 of the purchase price for a recorded ram – had undoubtedly been a factor in the higher prices achieved,” added Mr Marwood.

 

Paying the top price was David Curran and his son Paul from Talgarth, Brecon.

 

“I’ve followed the Foulrice breeding lines and was very impressed with the ram’s conformation, correctness and performance figures,” said Mr Curran who bought him under the HCC scheme.

 

Geoff Biddulph of Macclesfield, Cheshire led the Suffolks at 1180gns with a ram lamb from his Pexhill flock.

 

The ram’s twin had taken second prize for a single ram lamb at the National Suffolk sale last month and sold for 13,500gns.

 

Buyers of the 1180gns ram were the Hughes family from Felinfach, Lampeter.  “I had him marked in my catalogue as soon as I set eyes on him,” said Mr Hughes.

 

Topping the Texels at 1150gns was a ram from Rob and Barbara Smith’s Slapton flock in Northamptonshire.

 

The Smith family, who achieved the highest breed price of 1950gns last year, run 175 Texel ewes.

 

Beltex best was 950 guineas with a Berrichon tup reaching 400 guineas and Hampshire Downs up to 370 guineas.

 

There were 447 sheep sold compared with 441 in 2009. Gross takings were £214,475.79.

 

Leading averages: Charollais shearling (147) £595; Texel shearlings (214) £462; Suffolk lambs (65) £488; Beltex (16) £477