Sheep farmers ready to invest in breeding stock

Trading at this summer’s ram sales is expected to benefit from a new level of optimism among pedigree and commercial sheep producers, says one auctioneer.

About 1500 pedigree breeding rams of five different breeds will go under the hammer within one day at Borderway Mart, Carlisle in August, together with a further 15,000 head at marts throughout the UK

“Better lamb prices over the last two years have led commercial farmers to get more focused and buy the ram to match their system and flock,” said David Pritchard of auctioneer Harrison & Hetherington. “In turn we are aware of pedigree breeders selecting more carefully genetics which meet that demand.”

Sheep producers were more prepared to invest in quality breeding rams now as the financial returns in their lamb crop were now easier to see, said National Sheep Association chief executive Peter Morris. “This very welcome ‘coming together’ of the commercial and pedigree sectors within the sheep industry must be a good thing and once again demonstrates the positive things that can happen when ‘there is a bit of profit in the job’.

“This positivity will also reflect back into the top tier of pedigree breeders, who should themselves be keenly watching what is happening as the genetics they control cascade down to the commercial farmer,” Mr Morris said.

“Of course with increased prices comes increased expectations, and there will be more emphasis than ever from buyers on choosing rams they can be confident will survive and thrive in the management system they are being introduced to as well as the one they are leaving.

“For those pedigree breeders who are as aware of the needs of their buyers as they are of the needs of their own business it should be a very good season. This can only be good for all sheep farmers – pedigree or commercial, large or small.”

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