SUPPORTERS of Hampshire Down sheep traded top quality stock at excellent value at the breed societys show and sale at Portadown in Northern Ireland.
With the seasonal programme of live auction sales now well underway in Ulster, breeders and commercial lamb producers were back in action and able to secure good rams for handy money.
Ian Robinson of Donaghadee, Co Down, dominated the trade and the major titles with stock from his Ballyvester flock which was established over 25 years ago.
Mr Robinson, who runs 55 pedigree ewes, collected the supreme championship with a well grown ram lamb sired by his home-bred stock ram Ballyvester Red Ribbon. The December-born lamb realised 320gns.
Another from the same pen, which had been placed fourth in its class by the judge, sheep breeder Jim Aiken from Dromara, sold at 280gns.
The run of good fortune continued for the Ballyvester consignment which secured the reserve overall championship with a shearling ram by Red Ribbon. Another Ballyvester shearling by Rademon Paddy made 250gns.
Derek Ritchie from Northants has produced some great sheep over the years from his Parkstock flock and it was a smart two-shear ram sired by a Parkstock tup that topped the senior males for John Smyth. Bred in his Carr flock at Ballynahinch, Co Down, the ram made 190gns.
Richard Davis, secretary of the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association based at Great Missenden, Bucks, said the aftermath of foot-and-mouth, which was still creating some caution among buyers, was making sheep look "tremendous value".
Females attracted interest from new and established breeders and reached 180gns for a gimmer from Mr Robinson that had stood best opposite sex to the supreme champion.
She was sold in-lamb to a Cholderton ram. Another Ballyvester gimmer made 160gns. Ewe lambs from Ballyvester took the pairs title selling at 170gns and 140gns. (Automart) *
NIHampshire Downs sought