As Swaledale breeders move into gear in readiness for the season’s major ram fixtures there was every sign at last week’s sale at Middleton-in Teesdale that demand will continue to be strong for the best tups on offer. This sale of 172 aged and shearling rams produced a top price of £8000 and saw the shearling average rise by £174.

 

It was a best ever price for Richard Hird who runs his flock at Baldersdale, Barnard Castle. “He’s by a £5000 Mossdale tup and his grandfather made £35,000 at Kirkby Stephen. His dam was by a tup bred by Patrick Sowerby,” said Mr Hird. The ram was bought by Alan Coates, Richmond.

 

R Hutchinson, Bowes stood first and second in the shearling tup class for large flocks. But their second prize winner pleased the ringside more making £2600 to Tully Bros, Burncroft Farm, Barnard Castle.

 

Dent Bros of Naby View sold a shearling at £2800 to David Hanson, Fylingdales on the north Yorkshire moors. Alan Alderson, Kirkby Stephen earned £2500 for a shearling taken by Dowson and Startin, Bowes.

 

Meanwhile, a strong show of aged rams and ram lambs produced a keen trade among north country hill farmers and booste the average for aged rams by £332 at the Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association’s sale at Hawes where bidding reached £4000.

 

And the top call was “icing on the cake” for Leyburn, North Yorkshire hill farmer John Cloughton whose four-shear ram had been bought in the same ring as a shearling for £1000.

 

Bred by the Booth family at Feizor near Settle, the ram is by a £6000 sire hailing from the flock of W C Porter and Son, Richmond. The ram was bought jointly by Patrick Sowerby of P E and K A Sowerby, Mossdale Estate, Hawes and Thomas Brogden, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.

 

Peak District breeders J H and J Bland, Glossop, made a foray north and achieved the day’s second highest for aged rams bid of £3000. Buyer was Forest Hall Farm, Selside, Kendal.

 

Averages – Middleton-in-Teesdale: shearling rams £539, aged rams £257 (Harrison and Hetherington). Hawes; aged rams £621, ram lambs £290 (Hawes Auction Mart).