26 October 2001

Blackface cash aplenty spent at video sale

SCOTTISH Blackface breeders are in the midst of a late season programme of sales, including the first offering of "live" sheep.

Prices have reached £20,000 with one top flock grossing £73,000 from a days trading.

The Stirling video sale, staged by United Auctions, produced the most serious spending and left Ian Hunter of Crieff with a cheque for £73,300 for his eight shearlings.

His top tup at £20,000 was bought in a split deal between John Campbell, Peebles and Andrew Blackwood, Muirkirk.

He followed that by accepting £16,000 for a shearling taken by Colin McArthur, Elvanfoot, and £13,000 for a shearling bought in a three-way deal to Jim Kay, Andrew Kay and Andrew Paton. All run flocks in the Newton Stewart area of south-west Scotland.

Selkirk buyer Tom Renwick completed the five-figure trend for Hunter-bred tups, paying £12,000 for another shearling.

The Connachan flock of Crieff breeder Neil McCall produced three shearlings at £4000 apiece.

The breeds first live sale of the season was well supported at Perth despite rigid foot-and-mouth restrictions. Sheep were unloaded and handled by market staff who retained control of the sheep throughout the sale.

The sale highlight was an £8000 call from Bert Grant, Glen Isla, for a shearling from Kate Fairlies Kilburns flock at Glen Cova. The eight Kilburns shearlings averaged £1256.

The day saw two tups at £2500 and another at £2220. The 104 rams averaged £471.

Aileen McFadzean of the Blackface Sheep Breeders Association said commercial producers had been buying rams privately and were largely absent from the sale rings.

"The 21-day rule is a disaster for sheep producers. We desperately need normality to return to sheep movements. There are a lot of Blackface ewes and rams still in Scotland waiting to move south to Northumberland and tupping time is nearly on us," said Miss McFadzean. &#42