Sheep trade down at Thame

SCORCHING WEATHER failed to deter vendors and buyers at this year‘s Thame and Bicester Sheep Fair, where prices were slightly down on last year but trade remained strong.

Over 22,000 sheep were penned on Thame showground, Oxon, more than doubling last year‘s numbers. The day‘s trade grossed £1.5m during 15 hours of selling in three rings.

The loss of sheep annual premium as part of CAP reform made buyers more cautious and a widely predicted easing in values was in sharp contrast to last year‘s flying trade, which was bolstered by many farmers reducing the age of their flocks after foot-and-mouth.

Auctioneer Simon Draper said most vendors were prepared to accept lower prices which resulted in 17,500 theaves averaging £73.31 – around £11 a head down on the year.

“Strong Suffolk x Mules were in demand, selling to well above £80 a head.

“Younger, less mature theaves were hardest to place, making between £58 and £67 a head. Suffolk Mules averaged £69.50,” said Mr Draper.

But the outlook for the main breeding sheep season remained positive, said members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association.



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