The National Sheep Association (NSA) Wales and Border Ram Sales have been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Organisers of the events, which normally take place in August and September at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth, said they had left the decision “as long as possible” in the hope the situation would improve, but had made the very tough decision to cancel the sales for 2020.
The main September sale is one of the biggest in the UK, with around 5,000 rams sold annually and 30 breeds represented.
In a statement released this morning, the NSA Wales and Border Ram Sale Committee said: “With the current social distancing regulations and restrictions on large events, the health, safety and well-being of buyers and sellers and everyone involved in the sales are priorities. Cancellation is the safest decision.”
Instead, the sales will be held online and a free online register will be created to link NSA member vendors to potential buyers.
More details are expected to be released in due course.
Sheep breeder Helen Forsyth, from Shropshire, who would have taken more than 20 Bluefaced Leicester, Texel and Texel x BFL rams to the sale, called the decision “disappointing”.
She added: “I kind of had a feeling this was coming, but I didn’t think they would totally cancel it. I thought they would come up with a plan so they could have had the tups there.”
She is now concerned she may not find buyers for the rams online.
“It will be a lot more difficult to sell them online. We are Signet-recorded and that will be beneficial [for buyers] to have those figures. It makes it easier to see what people are selling.”
The NSA South West ram sale at Exeter market on 19 August is currently the only confirmed national NSA ram sale to go ahead this year.