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Native breeds and halfbreds prove popular

By Jeremy Hunt

MANY pure and commercial cross-bred ewes might be in for a bumper autumn sale season.

With the movement of North of England Mule lambs severely restricted, buyers in the midlands and south are already seeking alternative sources of supply for their flock replacements.

An official “digital photo” sale of 4000 Welsh Halfbred ewes will be held at St Asaph, north Wales, on Sept 10, and there had been enquiries from new buyers even before the date was announced.

Prices are expected to be 60-70 for shearlings but supplies could be tight.

Debbie McGowan, a Perthshire-based Lleyn breeder says there has been a phenomenal demand for stock in Scotland.

Having sold around 5000 ewes, we still have about 8000 sheep on the private sales register with prices ranging from 75-100 for shearlings and ewe lambs at 50-80.

A lot of buyers want to switch to a closed sheep flock – that has become a major factor.

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Native breeds and halfbreds prove popular

7 September 2001

Native breeds and halfbreds prove popular

By Jeremy Hunt

MANY pure and commercial cross-bred ewes that normally play second fiddle to the North of England Mule ewe might be in for a bumper autumn sale season.

While prices may not be much higher than last year, supporters of many native and halfbred sheep breeds are experiencing a big increase in enquiries for stock.

With the movement of North of England Mule lambs severely restricted, buyers in the midlands and south are already seeking alternative sources of supply for their flock replacements.

An official "digital photo" sale of 4000 Welsh Halfbred ewes will be held at St Asaph, north Wales, on Sept 10. This is thought to be the seasons first sale of commercial sheep outside Scotland, but even before the date was announced there had been enquiries from new buyers.

Peter Bullen, of St Asaph-based auctioneers Jones Peckover, says: "I dont think well have a problem selling the sheep. I just hope we can get sheep moved off farms quickly."

And Welsh Halfbred Sheep Society secretary Gill Napper adds: "Weve had phone calls from new customers who want to try Welsh Halfbreds for the first time and thats very encouraging."

Prices are expected to be £60-£70 for shearlings but supplies could be tight.

As a breeder of Kent Halfbreds (Lleyn x Romney), Romney Sheep Breeders Society secretary Alan West has noticed a lot more interest this season from commercial producers.

"Theres also been many more enquiries about pure-bred Romney ewes, too. One midlands buyer wants 400 Romney ewes from one farm. People are becoming more conscious about flock health and are asking about the breeds suitability for low-cost production."

Pure-bred commercial Romney shearlings are expected to make £55-£60 apiece.

Debbie McGowan, a Perthshire-based Lleyn breeder who has been co-ordinating the breed societys private sales register, says there has been a "phenomenal" demand for stock in Scotland.

"We have sold around 5000 ewes in Scotland and are constantly dealing with new enquiries from the south. A lot of buyers want to switch to a closed sheep flock – that has become a major factor.

"We still have about 8000 sheep on the register with prices ranging from £75-£100 for shearlings and ewe lambs at £50-£80."

Some lowland sheep producers preparing for a future without ewe subsidy have been attracted by the high lambing percentage of the Cambridge breed.

Breed stalwart Alun Davies, of south Wirral, Cheshire, says: "More lambs per acre will go some way to offsetting subsidy shortfalls. Theres a lot of interest in Texel cross Cambridge and Charollais cross Cambridge ewes offering good conformation and high output." Cambridge-cross shearlings are trading for £50-£60 each this autumn. &#42

HALFBREDS

&#8226 More popular this year.

&#8226 Supplies could be tight.

&#8226 Flock health becoming more important.

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