Bluefaced Leicester ram buyers demonstrated their determination to maintain the breed’s undisputed influence in the UK sheep industry at the breed association’s major show and sale at Hawes in north Yorkshire where bidding reached £9000.
Although averages across all male sections were £200 below last year, it was a figure that breeders were satisfied with in a season that has rocked the hill sheep sector. And given there were sizeable gaps in the catalogued entry, as some vendors had opted to sell tups privately, there were the inevitable periods of lack-lustre trading that sent many tups home.
But when crossing tups met buyers’ demands the bids came steadily – and that was certainly what everyone expected to happen after a stylish ram lamb from the Hutchinson family at Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria started the day by taking the reserve championship.Judges John Hamilton from Innerwick, Dunbar and John Park from Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire pulled him out to stand runner-up to the Abberley family’s ram lamb that was brought all the way from mid-Wales to stand supreme.
This lamb, from their Old Hemley flock at Brecon, was sired by the £14,500 tup the Abberleys bought from the Hutchinsons in the same ring last year.
The lamb from the Hutchinson’s Kirkby Redgate flock generated some refreshingly lively bidding to settle at £9000. He is by a ram bred in the Keer flock that was bought three years ago by the Hutchinsons for £10,000.
“The Keer ram has done a great job for us. He produces great style, good skins and colour,” said Richard Hutchinson. The lamb goes to well known breeders J Nelson and Son, Bull and Cave, Clapham, Lancaster.
Claiming the Old Hemley title winner – whose £14,500 sire is also by the Keer tup – at £3200 were G and G Jackson and Son, Blubberhouses, Skipton.
Leading flocks enjoyed prices beyond expectations. Messrs Lord produced a smart lamb from their Hewgill flock at Kirkby Stephen. By a home-bred sire he made the day’s second top bid of £6800 to J E Thorpe, Hawes. The Lord’s pen included another good lamb at £5400 claimed by the Abberley family.
Renowned for their conformation, entries from the Midlock flock of leading stock breeder John Wight, Biggar, Lanark peaked at £4800 for a lamb taken by Paul Brown, Kirkby Stephen with a second from this vendor making £4000.
The Booth family from Austwick, north Yorkshire achieved a best of £3800 for a tup lamb by a Lunesdale sire that heads just over the border to join the flock of Richard Hargreaves at Barley, near Burnley, Lancashire.
The Riddings flock of Richmond, north Yorkshire breeder James Porter and son Geoffrey produced a strong pen of lambs that sold to £3000 for one by a Todhills sire and out of a Lunesdale sired ewe. Buyers were P and P Ellis, New Hutton, Kendal.
Averages: ram lambs £707; aged rams £408; shearling rams £376. (Hawes Auction Mart).