A total of 4457 rams changed hands at Kelso on Friday for an average price of £649.71, with just shy of 85% of those forward finding new homes, with many taking the strong average as another sign of the optimism pervading in the sheep trade following a strong lamb selling year and bumper replacement ewe prices.

And, while commercial buyers were the mainstay of the strong trade, it was the top end pedigree breeders who paid the day’s highest prices.

Taking the top call of the day  at £15,000 was Maurice Hardy-Bishop, Grey Peel, with his Texel shearling ram by Drinkstone Oh So Smart. This one was in the top 1% of the breed for performance recording and was sold in a three-way split to Bruce Goldie, Goldies, Ted Fox, College, and Jonathan Watson, Brijon.

Next best call of the sale was a £7600 bid which saw Mr Watson recoup his outlay when he sold a Texel shearling by College O2 to John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains.

Another pair of Texels took the sale’s next highest bid of £7000, with both of these coming from the Gray family’s Langside flock. Both of their pen leaders were sons of Rascarrel Panther and sold to Douglas Fleming, Burnhead, and Paul Slater, Whiteley Hey.

Then at £6500 was the best Bluefaced Leicester of the day from Messrs Hall, Lilyburn Firth. This was a son of Tanhouse B4 and sold to Crowhall farms, Hexham

At £4500 was another Texel shearling from the Grays, this was a son Springwell Opinion which was bought by Neil Crighton, Loanend.

And at the same money was another Bluefaced Leicester from Messrs Hall which sold to W Lockhart, Laggan, Monaive.

Messrs Bell, Teviot, then sold their best Texel shearling of the day at £3800. This was a Mitchelhill Paparazzis son which also sold to Mr Crighton.

The largest consignment of the sale once again came from Malcolm and Alistair Stewart’s Sandyknowe flock of Suffolks, with their top call a £2000 bid and their 100 strong run levelling the day at £664.40, while the strongest average of the sale was achieved by the Halls with their 18 Bluefaced Leicester shearlings selling to average £1912.22 for 18 sold.

Ram lambs

Best of the day in the ram lambs was a £5000 sale for a Suffolk tup lamb from Iain Barbour, Solwaybank. This one sold to a brace of Southern Irish buyers in the form of Gerry Killelea and James Rooney.

And second top of £2700 came in the Bluefaced Leicesters, when Messrs A G and D Bisset, Middle Dukesfield, sold a son of X6 Clennell.

At the same money was a Texel tup lamb from Robbie Wilson’s Milnbank flock, while at £2600 was a Suffolk ram lamb from R Gray’s Langside flock.

A £2400 sale saw the Wight family sell the best of their Bluefaced Leicester ram lamb from their Midlock flock, with this one by the same B4 Tanhouse sire as the top priced Bluefaced shearling of the sale.

Averages; Registered rams; 101 Beltex shearlings £462.08, nine Beltex ram lambs £346.67, nine Berrichon Du Cher shearlings £572.22, 14 Berrichon Du Cher ram lambs £405.71, three Blue Texel shearlings £850, 482 Bluefaced Leicester shearlings £879.25, 25 Bluefaced Leicester ram lambs £1012.80, 64 Border Leicester shearlings £545.16. 256 Charollais shearlings £533.75, 58 Charollais ram lambs £376.59, four Easycare shearlings £562.50, 11 Hampshire Down shearlings £460, 108 Lleyn shearlings £375.74, two Millenium Bleu shearlings £300, 74 North Country Cheviot shearlings £383.38, 10 Oxford Down shearlings £219, two Poll Dorset shearlings £415, three Poll Dorset ram lambs £233.33, 455 Suffolk shearlings £712.99, 280 Suffolk ram lambs £587.57, 1144 Texel shearlings £717.11,  89 Texel ram lambs £415.84, eight Vendeen shearlings £487.50. Unregistered rams; 10 Beltex shearlings £219, 465 crossbred rams £509.68, 16 crossbred ram lambs £436.25, 486 Suffolk shearlings £718.19, 269 Texel shearlings £592.97.