A predicted shortage of breeding sheep across the country and few sales with numbers to offer early in the season saw last week’s Bicester and Thame Sheep Fair record averages up across the board with vendors expectations exceeded in nearly every class of sheep offered, according to Rob Lea of Thame Farmers Mart.
“Quality on offer was definitely improved on last year, with buyers converging on the sale from across the UK. A few left empty handed having failed to secure the sheep they wanted at a price they felt comfortable with, but most buyers seemed happy enough to bid well for the sheep on offer.”
Top prices of the day and the best average was seen in the Suffolk x Mule shearlings where the best bid was a £175 call for a pen from Eddie Bulman from his run of 400 which hadn’t been tupped as ewe lambs. Overall average for the 5360 Suffolk cross shearlings sold was a healthy £123.10, up £10 on last year.
Meanwhile, Mr Lea reports there was standing room only ringside when the Mule shearlings were offered, these were topped at £142 by North Country Mules from Rob and Caroline Mole, Chearsley, from their run of 100 forward on the day. The 6994 Mules sold levelled at £114.15, a rise of £20 on the year.
In the Continental crosses the best price was a £188 bid for Beltex crosses from Gore Farms, Culworth. The 889 Beltex crosses forward sold to average £121.60, with the 1008 Texel crosses sold hitting a high spot of £169 for a pen from Garfield Stephens, Kirby Bellars, the average among these was £128.97.
And the best of the Lleyn and Lleyn crosses on offer made £122 for a pen from Messrs Beaverfast, Thornborough. Average for the 341 sold was £113.56.
Store lamb trade was also strong despite the recent grass shortage in the local area, reports Mr Lea. “There were plenty of longer keep lambs forward which hadn’t had much grass in recent weeks, but trade for these was still strong with the lowest price on the day in the £40 region.” Best of the store lambs on offer made up to £77, with the entry averaging a respectable £51/head and plenty of lambs in the high £60’s.
In the ewe lambs the top price of £80 was paid five times, firstly for four pens of Beltex crosses from David Wadland and then also for Suffolk x Mule ewe lambs from Messrs A R and J Collett, Culworth.
Across in the ram ring trade was more selective, but still hit a high spot of £600 for a Charollais ram lamb from Messrs Hawes, Little Chesterton. Suffolk ram lambs sold to a top of £480 for Gordon Beddie, while Texel shearlings sold to a peak of £495 for Jane Roff, Pavenham. Overall clearance was good though with the auctioneers reporting a solid ram trade for an early season sale. (Thame Farmers Mart).