The second summer sheep fair found just over 10,000 head penned, but buyers were very choosy with only the most powerful pens finding homes at satisfactory prices. Second quality sheep were hard to sell but a near total clearance of breeding sheep was achieved.
A pen of pure Texel theaves from RJ and BE Kimber topped the trade at £186 a head, while the best pen of North Country Mules sold to £158 a head to J and H Tustian, PL Morris for £157, RW and SV Allan for £152 and AR and J Collett for £145.
Paul Mascaux finished his sheep keeping days in style by selling a pair of Dorper cross theaves at £140.
One of the largest entries of store lambs seen at the second fair for some time met demand for all qualities, particularly longer farming lambs and those looking to grow on for future prime markets.
Recent national reductions in prime lamb prices at the start of the week and a distinct lack of grass in the area showed reluctance from many local farmer buyers, who were not out in quite as strong form following last year’s exceptionally strong trade.
Topping the day and also winning the prize for the best pen of 100 or more store lambs judged by Mr I Wain was £68.50 for Continental crosses from JB Baylis and Partners, Hoggeston. Next at £64.50 were Texel crosses from JW Peacock, followed closely by £64 for MA Brittens Texel crosses.
Suffolk cross lambs were in particular demand for EA Bishops annual consignment and Texel crosses from Kingston Blount Farms sold to £63.50. JW Pickfords Suffolk crosses sold to £63.50 and the first lot of the day from Mr E Day to £62.50. Many buyers were willing to pay £55-£60 for lambs with any frame about them, £60 plus for those nearer finishing and £45-£50 for those lacking weight but with potential for the New Year hogget trade.
Stock Rams (177 forward – 116 sold)
Demand followed the pattern established at the August fair, with buyers focussing on the best quality after a two-thirds clearance, but this time the interest was spread over a wider selection of breeds than Texels and Beltex.
The champion ram and highest price at the Texel Midland Club Show and Sale of shearling rams bred for the production of commercial lambs was shown by Rob and Barbara Smith and sold for £600.
Following this was a run of seven rams from the same vendors which sold up to £550 (average £447). Next at £520 was Mrs D M Blakemore’s shearling Texel.
There were good runs from RJ and BE Kimber and Christian Malford, who sold up to £500 (10 rams to average £413). Mrs A Payne, South Mimms, topped £480 and Mrs Jane Roff, Pavenham, made £470 from her Texel shearling ram.
There were a few Beltex on offer and AT Ivory and Son, Gaddesden Row sold to £480 to top this section. Others from Davies Bros., Llangadog sold to £350 (average £275); and Taylor and Walker to average £240 a head.
In the Charollais section there was stronger competition than at the last fair with honours spilt across the board between GA and JA Curtis, Wickhamford (up to £440 average £401); Seahawes, Little Chesterton (up to £450 twice to average £380); J and C Maxwell, Ely (up to £445 average £291); AJ and MJ Gregory, Mursley (up to £380 average £367.50) and M Wilkin, Ely up to £350.