19 July 2002

Breeding ewe trade holds up

CONCERN over the prospect for this seasons sales of breeding ewes was abated last week when an offering of 1570 North Country Mules at Kettering, Northants, confirmed buyers are still willing to invest.

The dispersal on behalf of Moorfield Farms on the Broughton Estate was the first large sale of breeding ewes in the midlands, reports auctioneers Henry Bletsoe & Son. Demand saw theaves (breeding females between first and second shearing) sell between £74-76 a ewe, double theaves £61-63 and full-mouthed ewes £46-56.

The flock had been bought through Hawes market, North Yorks, over successive seasons before foot-and-mouth, run on for a year and tupped as theaves using Suffolk rams.

"It was the first real test of the market and we were extremely pleased with the trade," said auctioneer Michael Bletsoe. A significant portion of the flock will be heading out of the area.

Almost 70 mixed-age Mules with May-born lambs at foot sold to £27.50/life. Suffolk shearling rams sold to £215 a head and full-mouthed rams to £242. &#42