Forget the weather, the
daffodils and the arrival of
Easter, eggs and all – theres
no surer sign that spring has
sprung than the onset of lamb
shows at auction marts. The
first kicked off last week and
FW called in at Ashbourne,
Derbys to see what was what…
Right: Judge Howard Ferneyhough sets to work. Hes been in the judging hot-seat before at Ashbourne, both at Easter and at the Christmas primestock event. Trouble with competitions is that there can only be one winner. "You end up making one good friend and 50 enemies," laughs Mr Ferneyhough.
Not being an early-lamb producing area, this was the first time this year that new-season lambs had been seen at the venue. A far cry from parts of the West County where theyve been appearing for a couple of months. The day also saw hoggets on offer. This one, however, didnt seem to know quite where it should be.
Sights like this will soon become a thing of the past, with operations at Ashbourne to be incorporated in the Bakewell auction, which opens on a new site this summer.
This spring lamb looks like its about to spring – literally. It collected the top prize and made 200p/kg. Tom Turner from Longford, Derbys, looks on proudly. Or, rather, he hangs on proudly.
Auctioneer Nigel Young (right) and Peter Oven of Bagshaws in action.
Get on there, says Adam Edwards of Stoke-on-Trent. Stock sometimes need a little gentle persuasion to get it on the truck. Not sure what the plastic sack is for, though!
The hogget season is drawing to a close. And as it does, so there is a big range in values, says Mr Young. The best are still averaging over the 100p/kg-mark, but the bottom end are in the 70ps. But all sheep are worth less than 12 months ago. "Like beef, wheat, milk and just about everything else we grow or breed," as one farmer said.