The buoyancy of the prime lamb market so far this year generated keen bidding at the NSA’s early ram sale at Builth Wells.
George Hughes, chairman of the sale committee, said that after two decades the event had become well established as “the place to buy” top quality tups for early lambing flocks.
A total of 423 of the 504 rams forward sold for a total of £188,937, and a 1950gns top price was paid for Slapton Ollie, an Ettrick Major League sired Texel shearling.
The tremendously long bodied ram was bred by Rob and Barbara Smith at Slapton Manor, Towcester in Northamptonshire. They started with only three pedigree Texels in 1979 and now run a flock of 150.
Mrs Smith said the tup epitomised their breeding aims – length, a well shaped gigot and good skin. Buyer David Tomlinson said he picked the lamb from the catalogue before the sale and his hunch was proved correct by what he saw on sale day.
The sale topping ram will be used on the 10 pedigree Texel ewes he runs at Frodsham in Cheshire.
Overall Texel shearling rams sold to £1000gns and averaged £507.86, compared with £360.04 in 2008. The one aged ram sold made 620gns.
Bill Quick and his family from Crediton in Devon, who were also selling Charollais rams, showed the champion Texel, Loosebeare Knight Rider sired Loosebeare Och-Aye, which was knocked down to Talybont-on-Usk breeder Glasnant Morgan for 1000gns.
The outstanding tup was one of three Quick Texel shearlings that sold for 1000gns.
Mr Morgan, a former British Grassland Society Award winner, felt that the ram had the sort of conformation needed to help him meet the Waitrose prime lamb specification.
A strong entry of 168 Charollais rams produced some brisk bidding and 153 were sold. A top price of 1150 gns was paid for an entry from Tim Pritchard’s Castellau flock at Llantrisant in Glamorgan.
December 2007 born Castellau Ironside was sired by the phenomenal Galtres Dominator, which sired Mr Prichard’s breed champions at the Royal Welsh Show in 2006, 2007 and 2009. He was bought by Frank Gwilliam from Clun in Shropshire, who said he liked the ram’s presence, conformation and breeding.
The average Charollais shearling ram price was £74.35 up at £480.90, while 51 ram lambs levelled at £372.25, or £13.74 higher than in 2008. A Meikleson Impression sired Suffolk shearling ram topped the breed when it changed hands for 1300gns.
He was bred by Gary Owen, who runs only 18 pedigree ewes at Newborough in Anglesey, using semen bought from Scotland when Mr Owen saw the sire’s progeny selling well.
“We really like his conformation and colouring, and he has also thrown some very nice ewe lambs for us,” Mr Owen said.
The ram was auctioned as part of a Suffolk western area club sale of 32 MV accredited males run in parallel with trading of 69 other Suffolks. In total 97 head sold for £48,835.50.
Four Hampshire rams averaged £372.75, 22 Beltex shearlings levelled at £423.71 and 17 Beltex at £423.7. A trial of a Kelso style tup taxi service to move rams to buyers’ trailers worked well.