3 August 2001

Suffolk ram sale morale booster…

By Jeremy Hunt

THE first big money pedigree livestock sale since the start of the foot-and-mouth crisis put the cream of this seasons Suffolk ram lambs on a video screen in Perth and produced a top price of 20,000gns.

This was a far cry from the Suffolk Sheep Societys annual two-day event in Edinburgh, but, with 50 of the 95 Suffolk ram lambs sold to average 2297gns, the day was a real morale booster for breeders.

The sale was restricted to entries from Scottish flocks and predictably saw the strongest trade for sheep from leading Aberdeenshire breeders Jimmy Douglas (Cairness) and the Mair family (Muiresk).

The first lamb on screen from Mr Douglas drew the top bid of 20,000gns. The ET-bred lamb is by Muiresk Rainbow Quest – a son of Stock Caesars Son – and out of a ewe by the good female producer Muiresk King of Diamonds. She had already bred lambs to 15,000gns and 8500gns. The lamb had tested RR for scrapie and was bought by Barclay Mair.

The Mairs are well known for professional pre-sale promotion of their stock. This year, with 85 ram lambs and 50 gimmers to sell, they had commissioned their own video which had been circulated to breeders. Its objective of priming the punters was achieved when bidding for an RR lamb by the 12,000gns Glenho Godolphin (by Stockton Almighty) reached 9000gns.

This lamb is out of a Muiresk Marci Marvellous ewe that stood interbreed champion at the 1999 Royal Highland Show. He joins the Glenhead flock of Angus Wilson at Selkirk.

Muiresk Rainbow Quest was responsible for another much fancied lamb from the Mairs selection. This one is out of a Stockton Almighty ewe and realised 7000gns to CA Proctor and Co who run the Conveth flock at Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

Another combination of Rainbow Quest and an Almighty-sired ewe produced a ram lamb that made 6000gns to Keith Hourston, Orkney. The Mairs sold another ram lamb by Godolphin at 5800gns to David Steele to join his Westend flock at East Kilbride.

The Mairs followed the growing trend among Suffolk breeders not to "dress" their sheep. "We have stopped dressing," said Barclay Mair. "It takes too much time and buyers now seem to prefer to see sheep presented naturally." The eight Muiresk lambs averaged 4800gns.

Auctioneer David Leggat, of United Auctions, said it was a pity more commercial buyers had not attended. "But I can understand if they have lambs to sell themselves during August they would not want to be tied up by the 21-day rule."

Aberdeenshire stockbreeder Harry Emslie offered a ram lamb by the 14,000gns Baileys River Dance – a ram that had already sired the female champion at last years Royal Highland Show.

This River Dance son was out of a Stockton Rising Star ewe and realised 5000gns to Jimmy Douglas and Banffshire breeder Gordon Wilson (Glenisla) (United Auctions). &#42