Dorset sheep sell to 4,800gns at Exeter

The annual Dorset May Fair at Exeter Livestock Centre, held on behalf of the Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep Breeders’ Association, provided a positive early barometer for the year’s sheep trade, with six rams making 2,000gns, and more selling to a top of 4,800gns. Averages for the 106 ram lambs sold was down by £80 on the year, but up by £125 on 2011 figures.

Northern Ireland breeder Richard Currie topped the sale at 4,800gns with an eight-month-old poll ram lamb taken by Ross and Emma Sizmur, Okehampton, Devon, who run a pedigree flock of 100 females alongside 600 North of England Mules put to home-bred Dorset rams.

The top priced ram is the first to be sold from the Hilltop flock and is by Oliver Tree Navigator, which Mr Currie owns with Gary Henderson, who runs the Sandelford flock at Bushmills.
At 4,500gns father and son duo Jim and Joe Dufosee, who run just under 300 pedigree ewes in their Blackhill flock on Salisbury Plain, sold eight-month-old Blackhill Trident, who was the breed’s highest indexing ram recorded by EBLEX this year. Trident is by Blackdown Surprise, who is in the top 1% of the breed on performance.

Also keen to purchase rams with good figures were Brian Muncaster and Cathryn Pritt, who paid 3,000gns for the second prize poll ram lamb to add to their Thornbank flock based at Gosforth in Cumbria. Riverview Torque was bred by Northern Irish breeders T and S Knox, Ballymoney, and is by the 2011 Balmoral Show champion Riverview Legend, who carries the Myomax gene. The partnership also paid 500gns for Bamburgh Conan – recorded with a terminal sire index of 362 – bred by Alistair Johnson, Bamburgh, Northumberland.

Averages: ewe lambs £203; ewe hoggs £158; rams £819.

(Kivells and Husseys)