By Michael Priestley

Strong Scottish interest supported a remarkably good trade at Hawes Farmers Auction Mart’s annual show and sale of Swaledale shearling rams last week (Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29), which peaked on the second day at £40,000.

Thursday’s large breeder show champion, from MR Ewbank, Middlesmoor, made £34,000, which was overshadowed by trade topper from J and SJ Bland, making £40,000.

Overall averages were back slightly on 2014, but Hawes Auction Mart chairman, Andrew Pratt, stressed that throughput was higher, with about 140 rams heading north to Scotland out of 633 and 27 lots making 10,000gns or more.

“Prices were remarkably good with averages on a par with last year and considerably more sold,” Mr Pratt told Farmers Weekly. “The ram sales have followed on from the breeding ewe sales, which have been mostly buoyant.”

He said that low lamb prices, down £20 a head in early summer, had recovered slightly but that in general farming was still going through a difficult period.

Auctioneer Maurice Scott said: “The sale went very well, with plenty of men from the North of Scotland from way down to the Midlands and all over the countryside.

“The fatstock side of the market has been in the doldrums and things are tough at the moment but breeding sales, including gimmers have gone beyond our expectations.”

Averages: Overall, 633 rams, £1,840 (-£22 on year). Wednesday, 322 rams, £1,853. Thursday, 311 rams, £1,827.