As expected the first major breeding sheep sale of the season saw a big jump on the trade of a year ago, with last Friday’s Thame with Bicester Sheep Fair recording a rise in the Mule average of about £30/head.
According to auctioneer Rob Lea of Thame Farmers Mart, the trade was above expectations for the Mules with the entire Mule shearling entry levelling the day at £145.86. “We had some great runs of sheep forward and the buyers were prepared to pay a bit more for the quality sheep.
“With prime lamb and cull trade being so strong this year there has been a desire to reinvest in young sheep and this did impact a little on the older ewe trade which wouldn’t have been as sharp as perhaps we thought it might be.”
Strongest price of the sale was a £232 bid for a pen of pure Texels from R J and B E Kimber, Christian Malford, with the Texel sired shearlings averaging £146.22 for 1731 sold. In the Beltex sired shearlings the best price of £226 for a pen from Gore Farms, with 360 head averaging £148.08, up some £18 on last year.
And in the Charollais sired shearlings the best price was £180/head for ewes from G Forsyth, Leighton Buzzard, with these levelling at £140.
The biggest entry of the day was the North Country Mules, with 6686 shearling ewes sold to a top of £190 for G E Haynes, Winslow, these sold to Bramdon Richardson, Penshurst. This section saw the biggest rise in average, jumping by £31 on the 2010 sale.
In the Suffolk x Mule shearlings the best of the 6051 sold was a pen from Eddie Bulman, Thornborough, which made £202, with another pen from the same vendor making £200, this section averaged £146.14, a rise of £5 on 2010. “These could well look the best value on the year.”
One lamb ewes were also in demand, with the Texel sired entry topping at £142 and averaging £139 for 86 forward, explains Mr Lea. “The Suffolk crosses sold to a top of £158 and averaged £135.43, with Mules selling to £151 and levelling at £142.83.”
The strong trade continued in the ewe lambs and store lambs too, with an exceptional average of £93.53 achieved for the 560 sold. “Top here was a pen of Beltex x Texel crosses from B Blandford and Sons, Eastnor, which sold for £140, with another pen of the same making £126. The average would be up a good £20 on last year.”
In the 1564 store lambs on offer a top of £75/head was backed up by an average of £63, up £12-13 on 2010.
Ram trade was strong too and the best call here was £865 for a Charollais shearling from Messrs Seahawes.com, Little Chesterton, with the shearling rams averaging £420. “Suffolk ram lambs sold to £555 for Merrick and Julie Pinny, with the ram lambs forward averaging £366. Older tups were a good trade too, selling to £650.”
The sale also hosted the inaugural sale of Beltex for the Central Beltex Club and top call here in the females was a £472.50 bid for a ewe from Messrs Walker and Taylor, Witney, adds Mr Lea.
Mr Lea expects a much larger store lamb entry for the second sale in a month’s time. “But I’d expect our shearling trade to be back a bit then as we get in to the second and third draw sheep. There are already several thousand sheep entered for next time and we hope for the near 100% clearance we saw this time, with only eight-10 pens unsold this time round.” (Thame Farmers Mart).