28 August 1998

2900gns is top as Texels move out in force

ACHIEVING the correct throughput of stock at a major sale with a big entry is the hallmark of a skilled auctioneer. Tom Clarkes mastery of the rostrum at Portadown put 70 rams an hour through the ring at the British Texel Sheep Societys Northern Ireland show and sale last week.

The popularity of the breed in the province attracted a bumper crowd to compete for the 700 entries. While trading was highlighted throughout the day as breeders "cherry-picked" from the top flocks, it was not until just before the end of the sale that the top price of 2900gns was called.

The bid came from five leading Co Down breeders – Messrs Cromie, Bell, Morrison, Gamble and Amett – for a ram lamb from Robin Kennedys Maineview flock at Ballymena. This was Mr Kennedys first visit to the sale. His lamb was by Watchill Ballboy and out of a ewe by Annan Blue Chip.

Quality of stock was considered the best seen in the showyard for many years and sorting out the classes was Mr Alan Cullen of Carluke. He passed over his male winners to award the Northern Bank supreme title to a shearling ewe from the Carson family from Ballymena.

The ewe, Downkillybegs Dolly, was the first female to be offered from their flock in 10 years. By Watchill Ballboy and out of a ewe by Tinwald Yorkie, she was Royal Dublin All Ireland breed champion and RUS champion.

Dolly, who has a lean index of 168 – the second highest in the flock – was bought by mainland breeder Mrs J Lodge bidding over the phone. She paid 2300gns.

A ram lamb from Paddy and Nuala Kinneys Ballydonaghys flock in Crumlin was best opposite sex to the champion and made 1050gns to Robbie Mulligan, Banbridge.

This was the first big win for the Kinneys who founded their flock five years ago and described their victory as "like winning the Lottery". Their winner, a late February lamb, was a last-minute substitute entry. It was by Seneirl Arnos and out of a foundation ewe bought from Denis and Nigel Hammils Ballynadrenta flock.

Averages: 109 shearing rams £391; 218 ram lambs £359; 91 shearling ewes £255 and 34 ewe lambs £179. (Automart)