Thame averages recover on the year

Solid averages were seen at Thame Sheep Fair last week (1-2 August) as breeding ewe trade lifted in line with 2016 levels after some major pre-sale apprehension.  

Averages for all female classes were up on the year, as a kinder summer has left buyers with plentiful grass covers and vendors with sheep in excellent condition.

Thame Farmers Mart senior auctioneer Simon Draper said confidence had returned.

“Trade didn’t recover all of the ground lost last year because the year before – 2017 – was an exceptional sale, with strong averages,” he explained.

“There was also confidence in short-term store lambs, although any lambs for finishing beyond Christmas were bought to a budget.”

See also: Jeremy Clarkson delights farmers with surprise visit to sheep sale

Some vendors had seen dry North of England Mule shearlings increase £10-£12 a head to £130.

He said there could have been a need to restock after farms had been unable to buy during last year’s drought. “We sold around 7,000 mules, while normally this would be 10,000 head – I think there could be a lot of two-shear ewes sold this September that weren’t sold last year.”

Thame Sheep Fair: How the averages compare





















North of England Mules





Cheviot mules





Demand was strong for well-grown sheep that had lambed. Suffolk crosses topped with bids at £182 and £160 from George Eaton, Tingewick, Buckingham.

Conrad Lester, Radclive, Bucks, sold to £158 and £157 and JG Brown and Son, Woodeaton, Oxfordshire, also had strong Suffolk shearlings make £161. 

The North of England Mule section saw a bid of £170 for a championship-winning pen from Peter and David Morris, Brill, Bucks. Close behind was Henry Tustian, Epwell, Oxfordshire, who sold to £162, £158 and £156.

Will Alan, Hornton, Oxfordshire, saw his lambed sheep top at £148 and dry sheep from GE Haynes and Son, Towcester, Northamptonshire, sold to £150.

Beltex-crosses topped with a pen of 15 from Rawding Partners, Marsworth, at £190 and £175.

Texel Mules from an entry of 400 shearlings from Harrison Bros, Milton Keynes, topped at £170, while three-quarter-bred Texels from John Brown, Long Crendon, topped at £166.

Texel-cross Border Leicesters from Garfield Stephens, Kirkby Bellars, Leicestershire, made £190, with Mr Stephens also seeing North Country Cheviots make £160.