28 August 1998

Bleu sale benefits from breeders will to win…

By Jeremy Hunt

DETERMINATION of Bleu du Maine sheep breeders to retain a foothold in the increasingly competitive pedigree sheep market produced a good show at the breed societys main sale at Carlisle where prices peaked at 500gns four times.

Sires with good carcass conformation, tight skins and a fineness of bone that could be exploited more widely for lambing hoggs, were on offer in plenty – but the ringside was hard to please.

The breed still earns the support of many well-known names in pedigree stockbreeding circles who have stayed loyal to the Bleu du Maine.

Among them is Finlay McGowan whose shearling ram Dirnanean Shogun, from his flock at Blairgowrie in Perthshire heads south to Calne, Wilts, with Messrs Hastings who made the days first 500gns call.

Jim Goldie, Mouswald, Dumfries, whose early exploits with this breed were among the most lucrative of his stockbreeding career, sold a strong ram lamb at 500gns to Gelston Castle Farms, Castle Douglas.

Northumberland breeders J and K Davisons pen had deservedly attracted much interest and it was a powerful March-bred lamb from their Langley flock – with an eye muscle of 38mm – which also settled at 500gns. Buyer was J Farquharson, Errol, Perth.

The same family, buying as W &#42 Davison and Sons, claimed another good lamb from Wrexham breeder Richard Pilkingtons pen at 500gns. His Aintree flock had a string of stylish ram lambs, the result of 11 years involvement with the breed.

"Weve a pedigree flock of 25 ewes and run a closed flock of commercial ewes by using Bleu du Maine tups on Mules to breed our own milky and prolific replacements," said Mr Pilkington. His pen also produced the male champion that sold for 450gns to Mr and Mrs Geoffrey Cloke, Solihull who established one of the original UK flocks.

Averages: Two aged rams £147; 19 shearling rams £300; 33 ram lambs £279; five shearling gimmers £182 and 17 ewe lambs £156. (Harrison and Hetherington)